A 5-2 defeat of Oxford United saw the Shakers just 90 minutes from a date with Wembley. Danny Mayor’s brace, along with goals from Byron Moore and Adam Thompson secured the win. Dom Telford opened the scoring to extend his lead as the top scorer in the competition. It was the ninth time this season that the Shakers were able to notch four or more goals in a game.
Ryan Lowe named both Eoghan O’Connell and Byron Moore in his starting eleven after the pair impressed from the bench in wins over MK Dons and Forest Green Rovers. Scholar Callum Hulme was named on the bench for the fourth time in five games. Club captain Neil Danns started the game after sitting out in the last round of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The visitors had the more enjoyable opening ten minutes. They were able to register a couple of shots on goal and had multiple corners, however Murphy remained untested for the Shakers.
Bury’s first chance of the encounter fell to Dom Telford. A long throw-in from Tom Miller wasn’t cleared by the Oxford defence, the ball fell to Telford just inside the area who hit an effort on the spin but failed to hit the target as the game remained goalless.
Mr Checkatrade made it seven in the competition to date moments later. This time, Telford was fed the ball just outside the area. He struck a vicious effort at Eastwood who appeared to have made the save. However, the shot was too powerful for the ‘keeper and the ball went through him, giving the Shakers the lead.
Karl Robinson’s Oxford looked to hit back immediately. Jordan Graham took the ball past McFadzean down the right, pulling the ball back to the captain, James Henry. His effort was on target, but Adam Thompson met it with his head to clear the danger.
The Oxford Skipper did have his side level midway through the first half. Tom Miller’s challenge on Browne was enough to see Thomas Bramall point to the spot for a penalty. Henry smashed his penalty down the middle, giving the diving Murphy little chance of keeping the ball out.
Tom Miller’s long throw-ins continued to cause the U’s defence problems. This time from the left, the looped ball wasn’t cleared properly, and it fell to number five, Adam Thompson. The defender then struck a low effort under Simon Eastwood, giving his side the lead again after Oxford drew level for only three minutes.
With the break just around the corner, the Shakers scored their third of the evening. Callum McFadzean and Danny Mayor played a clever one-two, which included a McFadzean backheel. The full-back powered a low cross across the face of goal. Byron Moore charged in and slotted the ball home from close range.
The Shakers had to stay alert in first half stoppage time, as Cameron Brannagan found space in the box, but his effort was blocked before Murphy had anything to do as the first half action drew to a close.
HALF-TIME: Bury 3-1 Oxford United
It took half time substitute Samir Carruthers five minutes after his introduction to halve the deficit. A swift counter-attack saw the ball worked to Carruthers in the centre from the right. He slotted a low effort beyond the out-stretched Murphy.
Bury’s sub at the interval almost scored immediately at the other end. Nicky Adams cut in from the left, looking to beat Eastwood low at the ‘keeper’s left-hand-side. Unfortunately for the Shakers, Eastwood got his body behind the ball to keep the score at 3-2 to the hosts.
Five minutes after conceding, the two-goal cushion was restored through tricky attacker Danny Mayor. He picked the ball up just outside the area, beating his man before curling an effort into the top corner, giving Eastwood no chance.
Yet another substitute almost made an immediate impact, this time Gavin Whyte for the visitors. He was slipped in down the right, before flashing a low cross across the face of goal. Thankfully, Murphy was down on the ball quickly to gather it in.
The Shakers were hunting a fifth goal as the final fifteen minutes approached. The ball was worked out to Eoghan O’Connell who looked to recreate his heroics from the Stevenage game. Unfortunately for the Irishman, his left-footed effort was wide of the goal, and Eastwood was able to watch it wide.
It didn’t take long for the hunt to be over, with the fifth goal of the evening arriving in the 77th minute. Danny Mayor doubled his Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-Final tally in trademark fashion, as he cut in dangerously from the left. His effort was deflected, and Simon Eastwood had no hope of getting there as the Shakers were all but in the Semi-Final of the competition.
In his last bit of action before being taken off, the dangerous Jordan Graham almost pulled one back for his side. A 20-yard effort almost found Murphy’s top corner, thankfully though it was just wide as the Bury ‘keeper was rooted to the spot.
Both ‘keepers remained relatively untested in the final ten minutes, allowing Ryan Lowe’s side to see out yet another impressive win against opposition higher than them in the footballing pyramid.
FULL-TIME: Bury 5-2 Oxford United
Bury: Murphy (GK), Miller, Stokes (45’ Nicky Adams), Thompson, O’Connell, Mayor (80’ Hulme), Moore (61’ Lavery), Cooney, Telford, McFadzean, Danns (C)
Unused Subs: Moloney (GK), O’Shea, Omotayo, Maynard
Oxford United: Eastwood (GK), Dickie, Nelson, Hanson, Brannagan (45’ Carruthers), Browne, Ruffels, Henry (C), Graham (80’ Sykes), Mackie (65’ Whyte), Kashi
Unused Subs: Stevens (GK), Garbutt, Mousinho, Long
Attendance: 1,238 with 101 travelling from Oxford. Thank you for your brilliant support this evening!!