A dominant second-half saw the Shakers romp to a 4-0 victory against a 10-man Stevenage side. A brace from O’Shea, as well as goals from Mayor and O’Connell, saw Bury notch their 16th goal in their last 4 matches in all competitions.
Ryan Lowe had to deal without his captain Neil Danns who is currently away on international duty, representing Guyana. There was a place for Eoghan O’Connell on the bench, who had been missing since September through injury.
The Shakers thought they had won an early penalty after McFadzean had his heels clipped inside the Stevenage box. Some brilliant link-up play with Mayor allowed the wing-back to create the space in the area. The referee didn’t think it was a penalty, waving away the protests.
18 minutes into the contest, Byron Moore almost had his side ahead. The forward linked up with attacking colleague, Nicky Maynard, to get in behind, but Dieng did exceptionally well to get a strong left hand to the effort, keeping the tie goalless.
The hosts were showing just how quick they can attack. Danny Mayor laid the ball off to Jay O’Shea who threaded a brilliant ball into Nicky Adams who took his man on, putting him onto the floor with his quick turn of pace. The captain for the afternoon continued to drive at the Stevenage defence, before pulling the trigger, sending the ball just wide of the upright from 20 yards.
Nicky Adams was proving to be a real threat to the visiting defence, this time slipping a ball through to Callum Styles, unfortunately, his effort was poked beyond the ‘keeper, but also just past the post.
It was quickly turning into a busy afternoon for the Stevenage defenders and ‘keeper. This time, Nicky Adams whipped a dangerous looking ball into the box. Maynard met the ball, directing his free header towards goal. Unfortunately for the striker, his attempt was straight at the ‘keeper.
In the 34th minute, the visitors had their first real chance of the fixture. The ball bobbled through fortunately to James Ball, who hit the half-volley on the spin. He couldn’t direct his header either side of Murphy who caught the ball with ease.
Stevenage may have felt lucky to keep all 11 players on the pitch after Byron Moore was slipped in behind. He looked to be away from the defence after a smart run, he was tripped by the last man, but referee Tom Nield saw nothing wrong with the challenge.
Danny Mayor was hacked down from behind with a scissoring challenge from captain Ronnie Henry, seeing him pick up a booking. O’Shea took the free-kick from 25 yards out, a deflection from the wall saw the ball just over the bar, saving Dieng from having to do anything.
Moments later, the visitors were down to 10 men. Kurtis Guthrie lunged in on Adam Thompson, hitting him late and leaving him on the floor. Fortunately, the defender was able to continue as Guthrie was heading down the tunnel for an early bath!
HALF-TIME: Bury 0-0 Stevenage
Ryan Lowe’s half-time team talk had an instant impact on his side as they came out of the blocks quick! Danny Mayor charged across the box, before backheeling the ball into Nicky Adams who fired an effort straight at Dieng who held on to the ball, stopping the danger.
Byron Moore was looking sharp, using his turn of pace to react to a deflection in the box. He was quickest to the ball down the right, flashing a half-volley across the face of goal, almost finding the far corner. He had Seny Dieng beaten with the pace of the effort.
It was all Bury in the second half. The Stevenage players were having to crowd the Shakers forwards out of the box, and they put their bodies on the line to block a plethora of crosses and shots.
Nicky Maynard thought he had yet another goal to break the deadlock. O’Shea’s effort was deflected beyond the Stevenage ‘keeper by Maynard, only to be denied by the assistant’s flag.
Shortly after, the Shakers were ahead thanks to Jay O’Shea. The midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of the area, releasing a fierce strike, beating Dieng comfortably. He got across to the ball, but couldn’t do anything to keep it out, thanks to the power inflicted on the ball by O’Shea.
The visitors responded well, getting up the field in a rare attack. Seddon almost had an instant reply for his side, cutting in from the left, looking for the far bottom corner. Murphy was wise to the effort, parrying the ball away from the danger zone.
The Shakers were able to quickly double their advantage, thanks to Danny Mayor. Maynard found Telford originally, who almost got the second with his first touches of the encounter. The ball was cleared off the line to Mayor who was able make the net bulge as he curled a strike into the right-hand corner.
O’Connell did make his comeback from injury this afternoon. Entering the fray for Callum Styles in the 75th minute, sitting in midfield.
With just 12 minutes left, Ryan Lowe’s side had a third with Jay O’Shea doubling his tally for the afternoon with a superb free-kick. Maynard drew the foul from Wilkinson who pulled him down 30-yards from goal. O’Shea, after his sighter in the first-half, had the better of Dieng this time! He curled an effort up and over the wall, and back down towards the bottom corner, leaving the visiting ‘keeper no chance of keeping the ball out of the net.
After seeing the forwards and midfielders register numerous Goal of the Season contenders, Eoghan O’Connell took it upon himself to fly the flag for the defenders. Just 8 minutes into his match, he picked the ball up around 35-yards from goal, bending an effort into the top corner. With so much quality on the strike, Dieng couldn’t get anywhere near O’Connell’s wonder goal!
Not settling with the 4 goals this afternoon, the Shakers continued to push the Stevenage defence. Telford was played in from the left, striking a low effort towards goal. He hit the ball that hard, he didn’t give Maynard chance to get out of the way of the strike, as the ‘keeper saw his work done by the Bury forward!
The Shakers still came forward in the 5 minutes of stoppage time. They couldn’t find their way past Dieng for a fifth time though, despite a brilliant strike from 20-yards by Jay O’Shea who was hat-trick hunting!
FULL-TIME: Bury 4-0 Stevenage
Bury: Murphy (GK), Stokes, Aimson, Thompson, Adams (C) (85’ Cooney), Mayor, Styles (75’ O’Connell), Moore (Telford 66’), McFadzean, O’Shea, Maynard
Unused Subs: Hudson (GK), Miller, Dagnall, Barjonas
Stevenage: Dieng (GK), Hunt, Timlin, Cuthbert, Ball (62’ Ferry), Byrom, Revell, Campbell-Ryce (Seddon 50’), Henry (C) (79 Reid), Guthrie, Wilkinson
Unused Subs: Farman (GK), Sonupe, Makuma, Nugent
ATTENDANCE: 3,385 with 143 travelling to support Stevenage. Thanks for your fantastic support today, Shakers!!