Rochdale claimed the bragging rights after a scrappy local derby. First-half goals from Ryan Delaney and Ian Henderson were enough to prevent the Shakers closing the gap on their Greater Manchester neighbours at the bottom of the table, as Rochdale secured a 2-0 victory at the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane.
Ryan Lowe named 4 changes to his side that narrowly lost to Bristol Rovers on Good Friday. Adam Thompson, Joe Skarz, Andrew Tutte and Danny Mayor all came in for Nathan Cameron, Josh Laurent, Harry Bunn and Greg Leigh.
A rather tense opening saw the ball in the air more often than not, with both sides looking nervous with so much on the line.
The first chance of the match fell to Rochdale, Callum Camps played a long ball over the top down the left, he found Bradden Inman who put the ball into the box for visiting captain Ian Henderson, but the experienced forward couldn’t get his left-footed shot on target from close range.
The visitors continued to push, again down the left, Inman found Matthew Done, but his ball across goal beat everyone. Joe Rafferty put the ball back in but the Shakers defended well.
Bury’s response was a good one. A swift counter-attack saw Danny Mayor carry the ball forward. His following ball was a good one in behind the Rochdale defence, but Lillis was quickly out to prevent George Miller getting in one-on-one.
Danny Mayor continued to threaten. After just a quarter of an hour gone, Mayor danced his way inside onto his right foot, but Lillis was equal to his effort from just outside the area.
The Shakers fell behind with half an hour on the clock. Ryan Cooney did exceptionally well to get in the way of an Ian Henderson strike. The resulting corner was taken by Inman, who found Ryan Delaney with an inswinger, the defender was able to steer his header past Connor Ripley.
The Shakers pushed to find an equaliser before half-time. Andrew Tutte and George Miller linked up well down the left-hand-side of the Rochdale box, Mayor was found on the edge of the area, but his curled attempt was too high to trouble Rochdale ‘keeper Josh Lillis.
Danny Mayor continued to cause problems for the Rochdale defence, Miller blocked a clearance from former Shaker Jim McNulty, the young forward found Mayor, he cut past McGahey and McNulty, only to see Lillis there again to block his right-footed effort.
Despite the pressure from the Shakers, the visitors managed to double their lead just before half-time. A ball over the top from Calvin Andrew caught Bury out, as Dale skipper Ian Henderson struck a half-volley past Ripley just inside the area.
Ryan Lowe’s side were left frustrated at half-time, despite some good attacking play, they found themselves 0-2 down at the break.
The visitors carried on applying pressure after the break, Delaney almost doubled his tally, again from a corner, but Ripley was on hand to pull off an excellent fingertip save high to his right to deny the Rochdale defender.
Delaney went close again from a corner, but his effort was just over the Bury bar.
The Shakers had an excellent chance to halve the deficit, Zeli Ismail put a decent ball in from the right-hand-side, but a defensive arm stopped the ball finding Harry Bunn in the middle, and referee Geoff Eltringham pointed to the spot, awarding Bury a penalty. Unfortunately, Neil Danns, the skipper, dragged the spot kick wide of Lillis’ post, and Ryan Lowe’s side search for an opening goal continued.
The hosts continued to push the Rochdale defence, this time through Ryan Cooney, the youngster whipped a great ball into the box, but unfortunately, Rochdale managed to deflect the ball out for a corner before it came to anything.
A much-improved defensive performance in the second-half limited Rochdale to half chances from corners.
Adam Thompson was on hand to highlight the improvements as he prevented substitute Stephen Humphrys having an instant impact on the game after Kgosi Ntlhe put a dangerous ball across the Shakers’ box.
As we entered 3 minutes of stoppage time, Bury tried to force chances through long throw-ins from Ryan Cooney, but it was Rochdale who went closest in added time, as Stephen Humphrys pulled the ball back to Oliver Rathbone, who was denied by a brilliant save from Connor Ripley with his feet.
Despite a better second half, Ryan Lowe’s side were unable to beat Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis, who was in good form between the sticks, to prevent a Bury comeback in the second half.
Attendance: 4628 (Rochdale: 1540)
Bury: Connor Ripley, Andrew Tutte (Harry Bunn 45’), Adam Thompson, Danny Mayor, Zeli Ismail (Jay O’Shea 77’), George Miller (James Hanson 45’), Joe Skarz, Callum Styles, Ryan Cooney, Neil Danns ( C ), Peter Clarke
Unused Subs: Joe Murphy (GK), Phil Edwards, Tsun Dai, Rohan Ince
Rochdale: Josh Lillis, Joseph Rafferty, Jim McNulty, Harrison McGahey, Calvin Andrew (Stephen Humphrys 79’), Callum Camps (Kgosi Ntlhe 73’), Oliver Rathbone, Matthew Done, Bradden Inman (Scott Wiseman 67’), Ryan Delaney, Ian Henderson ( C )
Unused Subs: Brendan Moore (GK), Steven Davies, Sam Hart, Mihai Dobre