North End's Boxing Day clash ended goalless, with North End not able to capitalise on a dominant first half display.
The Lilywhites had some strong penalty shouts and good chances, particularly in the first half, but could not get the goal their play deserved.
The first half was one that saw North End have most of the possession and pretty much all the chances, with Graham Westley’s side dominating the game right from the outset.
The manager had made three changes to the side at Coventry four days earlier, Luke Foster in for his league and home debut in place of Chris Robertson, Will Hayhurst – making his first start since MK Dons at home in mid October – in for the injured Lee Holmes and John Welsh into midfield.
There were also tactical changes, with John Mousinho moving to right back, with Jack King partnering Chris Beardsley in attack.
And it was King who could have given the home side, attacking the Town End, the lead after less than 20 seconds. Joel Byrom headed down Mousinho’s right wing cross and King swung and missed the ball from six yards out.
It was a frenetic opening, with the bolstered bank holiday crowd right behind the team as they pressed hard on Bury’s backline. And on three minutes Andy Procter, playing out on the right hand side, saw a shot tipped behind by Carson from right hand corner of box after excellent quick thinking and ball across the box by Hayhurst.
Heavy rain had been falling from an hour before kick-off and it made for a slick surface and also tricky conditions in the boxes. On nine minutes North End had the first of four strong first half penalty shouts as Jack King was hauled down in the box, as Joel Byrom put over one of many corners, that reached double figures in the opening 45 minutes.
On ten minutes Hayhurst had a shot brilliantly blocked by Hughes after great play down the right and pull back by Jack King to the penalty spot.
On the quarter of an hour mark Chris Beardsley arrowed a shot from edge of the box wide after Jack King’s knock down from Buchanan’s free kick near half-way as the pressure continued.
Two minutes after that a free kick 28 yards out centrally was awarded after a foul by Hayhurst. It was Bury’s first chance to have a shot. Steven Schumacher, who scored from same position eight days earlier at Gigg Lane, fired over the bar though.
At the first half midway point David Healy missed the best chance of the game for Bury when a long throw was missed, and he hit the side-netting from ten yards out.
On 25 minutes massive another shout for a penalty for hand ball was screamed out after Andy Procter’s shot was seemingly palmed wide by a covering defender.
Just after the half hour mark the third huge shout for a North End penalty was made as Beardsley was thrown to the floor by Hughes as the ball was played into the box by John Welsh – it seemed a stonewall spot kick but official Mark Haywood shook his head again.
On 34 minutes Efe Sodje was not even booked for an elbow right through the back of Jack King’s head in an amazing incident but this preceeded more immense pressure from North End. Another shout for a penalty for handball followed and then John Welsh saw a shot deflected over for a corner after a superb tackle by the Scouser to win the ball 35 yards out.
Right on stroke of half-time, Bury won their first corner, Schumacher took it out on the right, but Sodje’s header was flicked well off target. North End counter attacked and Beardsley slashed at a chance and King saw a looped effort punched wildly away by Carson. From it North End won a free kick out on the left. Byrom delivered almost in line with the box and Carson punched off the head of Procter.
It had been a dominant half of football from North End, but without the goals to match their play.
The fifth, yes, fifth, shout for a penalty came three and a half minutes into the second half as Efe Sodje was manhandled to the ground on the edge of the box, but the referee saw nothing despite being close at hand!
Beardsley had a shot deflected just wide from 25 yards on 54 minutes as North End's corner count continued to rise.
Andy Procter, who had worked his socks off for the side in a really positive performance, was replaced by Jeffrey Monakana with 11 minutes of the second period gone.
Lee Trundle then followed for his first extended run out in a PNE shirt, replacing Will Hayhurst just after the hour mark.
Trundle's trickery was evident straight away as he created a crossing opportunity for Mousinho, whose ball was met by Jack King but deflected off a defender and wide rather than into the top corner where it was destined before Hughes got his head to it.
David Amoo was sent on up front to join Trundle, replacing Beardsley as Graham Westley pushed men forward to try and take the three points.
Three minutes of time was added on at the end, but North End were not able to break down the resolute opposition and the game ended goalless.
: Stuckmann, Mousinho, Buchanan, Welsh, Foster, Wright, Procter (Monakana, 56), Byrom, Beardsley (Amoo, 72), King, Hayhurst (Trundle, 62). Subs not used: Huntington, Kane, Simonsen, Elding.PNE Line-Up
: Carson, Skarz, Worrall, Schumacher, E Sodje, Hughes, Healy (John-Lewis, 66), Hopper, Doherty, Thompson, Soares (C Jones, 77). Subs not used: Sweeney, Hewitt, A Jones, Belford, Carole.Bury Line-Up
: Mr M HaywoodReferee
: 12,014 (1,152 away fans)Attendance