Preston North End recorded their second draw in as many games, as neither side could find the net at Victory Park on Saturday.
Despite Tyler Forbes’ and Anthony Dudley’s best efforts to break the deadlock, both Preston’s and Bury’s defences stood firm to deny either side any clear cut chances throughout the 90 minutes.
North End’s Forbes’ ferocious shot whistled past the post, whilst Dudley’s volley could only rattle Ross Dalton’s right hand post to signify the closest the two teams came to scoring.
The encounter was PNE’s first in the league since they were pegged back from two goals down against Wigan a fortnight ago.
Nick Harrison made three changes from that 2-2 draw against The Latics.
Jack Ryan, who made the loan move to Stalybridge Celtic last week – a terrific achievement for a scholar, made way for Sam Livesey, whilst Dalton and Jordan Scott replaced Matthew Hudson and Clive Smith in the PNE starting 11.
It was the hosts that came closest to scoring early on through Sean Holmes.
The 17-year-old firstly taking advantage of a tame clearance from Bury shot stopper Jonathan Barber, before a cross from Nick Anderton allowed the number eight to head towards goal.
Both attempts however, were denied by the arms of Bury’s number one.
A sublime first time strike from Forbes coupled with a Joe Whittington effort on goal unnerved Bury’s defensive unit, before the PNE captain was replaced by Luke Pritchard half way through the first half with an injury.
Despite PNE having the lion’s share of possession in the early parts of the first period, the Bury defence stood up well and allowed the Lilywhites very few chances on goal.
And once the away side got over the force of the early PNE pressure, they settled into the game.
Bury striker Dudley squeezed his way past the PNE defenders from a free kick, but his attempt went wide of the goalmouth, before an audacious effort from Scott Burgess went just over the head of Dalton to round off a cagey first half.
Livesey had a shot from distance that flew wide after PNE’s Scott opened the second period with a superb cross across the face of goal.
The cross so good, that it beat everybody before flying out for a Bury throw in.
The Shakers responded with a corner into the back post where Dudley stood waiting.
His volley rattling the post before being cleared away.
With half an hour remaining, both sides pushed for the opening goal, making the game far more open.
PNE brought on Lyle Magolis for Livesey before Bury’s claims of a penalty were waved away by the referee.
Full back Anderton got on the wrong side of Burgess before the pacey wide man tumbled down in the box.
As the full-time whistle drew ever closer, Bury were looking dangerous on the break.
A square ball into the feet of Dudley resulted in the striker prodding just wide of Dalton’s right hand post, before Burgess gave the Lilywhites a late scare.
The winger made a surging run from the right hand side towards PNE’s penalty area, but his shot lacked direction and went well over, much to the delight of the home side.
Bury’s late onslaught was withstood by some stubborn defending from the home side, meaning both sides brought back a point a piece, and a clean sheet from the game.
PNE Starting XI: Dalton, Gray, Anderton, Scott, Sampson, Roscoe, Whittington, Holmes, Livesey, Bunclark, Forbes
PNE Subs: Magolis, Hudson, Hagon, Quigley, Pritchard
Bury Starting XI: Barber, Cooke, Bickett, Potter, Poscha, Cliffe, Burgess, Dickinson, Dudley, Bourne, Miller
Bury Subs: Willis, Williams, Durham, Mohammed, Ashby
Nick Harrison Post-Match
Under 18s manager Nick Harrison was pleased that the hard work done on the training ground with the defenders was starting to pay off, after keeping a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Bury.
Despite drawing a blank in front of goal, Harrison was more than happy with the shape of his defence who restricted the Shakers to very few chances throughout the game.
“The lads worked really hard today. We’ve tried to do a bit of work with the defenders recently and we’re really pleased with the clean sheet and with how hard they worked to stop them scoring.”
Prior to the game, PNE announced that youngster Jack Ryan, a regular feature of the Academy side, had gone on loan to Stalybridge Celtic for the rest of the season.
The move leaving an opportunity for someone else to lead the line, and Nick was pleased with the players who came in to help fill the void.
“It’s going to be a great experience for Jack,” added Harrison.
“But him going out on loan just gives another younger player the opportunity to get game time in the Youth Alliance League.
“That’s how Academy football should work.
“One boy progresses and another gets an opportunity and the lads that came in today did well.”
The draw capped off a really good week for PNE’s Academy.
As well as Ryan being rewarded for his recent form, last week saw the Club attain category three status.
“It’s fantastic for the academy,” said Harrison.
“It’s been a long journey and it is credit to everyone who’s been involved in the process.
“Yes it’s been a good week, but it’s been a good year and it’s great to see everybody’s hard work on and off the pitch paying off.”