Joe Garner and Will Keane were again on target, but the home side came from behind to take a 3-2 win in the final match of both sides’ pre-season campaigns.
The Shakers opened the scoring 11 minutes in. Tom Soares poking home at the back post in a move started by the home side’s keeper, but like the previous game at Carlisle, there was only a few minutes before the sides were level, Joe Garner scoring his fourth goal of pre-season from ten yards out on 14 minutes.
Will Keane grabbed his third goal of the season’s preparation with just over half an hour gone as the away team – in their new blue and yellow change strip – going into the break 2-1 up.
Leon Clarke poked home an equaliser for David Flitcroft’s men on 67 minutes and with ten minutes to go a very dubious penalty from Andrew Tutte turned things round for the home side and earned the win.
The conditions at Gigg Lane were tough, torrential rain pre-match that seemed to have dissipated when the game got underway, however, within five minutes the heavens had opened again.
Jordan Pickford was making his debut between the sticks, having signed late the previous evening and in the first half he looked assured as he came to collect a number of crosses and was always quick off his line when required.
There were three ex-North Enders in the Bury starting line-up; Danny’s Pugh and Mayor and Leon Clarke, with another on the bench in Chris Sedgwick, whilst David Buchanan was also part of a good crowd in Greater Manchester to watch the game.
After a slow start the home side took the initiative with an opener that started inside their own penalty area. The move was started by Christian Walton, the Bury ’keeper – a quick ball out to full back Joe Riley who played it long to Leon Clarke; Bailey Wright won the ball first, but trialist Dean Furman recycled it within the box and found Tom Soares at the back post who poked home from six yards out.
A quick PNE break on 14 minutes levelled matters. Paul Gallagher fed Will Keane in the centre circle who whipped a ball over the top for Garner to break down the right. The No.14 drove into the box before checking back and slamming a left foot shot into the bottom right corner from ten yards out.
Simon Grayson had made a tactical change after the opening quarter of an hour, having acquiesced too much possession to the home side in the first 15 minutes, the change saw them move to a narrow 4-4-2 with Gallagher on the left and Daniel Johnson on the right.
This made a difference as for the rest of the half the Lilywhites were the dominant force in the game.
On 24 minutes Gallagher had a free kick on the right, after foul on Garner; he whipped in a ball with real pace, flicked on by Joe Garner and blasted over on the volley by Greg Cunningham at the back post.
Yet another Gallagher free kick came five minutes later, after another foul on Garner, this time much further out, but hit with just as much power and accuracy; Garner this time got a full header on it, beating Walton, but also beating the left hand post by a couple of inches.
Just before the half hour mark Will Keane showed some brilliance down the left, having been threaded through making a pacy run onto Kilkenny’s through ball, only but for an excellent tackle by Riley denying North End the lead.
However, they were ahead on 31 minutes. A ball in from the left by Paul Gallagher from open play, saw Joe Garner go up with Walton. The keeper got a strong hand, but the ball only fell to Daniel Johnson, who cleverly squared to Will Keane on the left corner of the six yard box and the Manchester United loanee slotted into the empty net.
With just over five minutes to go until the break a great shout for a penalty came for a foul on Paul Gallagher after Daniel Johnson saw a shot blocked. The ball came to Gallagher, via Garner, and he seemed to be pulled down after seeing a shot of his own blocked, but referee Darren Handley, who had also been in charge of the Hearts game, saw nothing.
The sun came out after the break and it was the home side who made hay; at the half’s mid-point as former PNE loan man Leon Clarke collected strike partner Tom Pope’s squared ball and poked the ball under Pickford from eight yards out.
Pickford first real save came in the 73rd minute as Clarke again found space in the box, jinking into the right hand corner of the box and finding room to shoot, but the on loan Black Cat stayed upright and got a strong hand to push away the front man’s right-footed effort.
Darren Handley with 11 minutes to go – who hadn’t given two blatant spot kicks at home to Hearts and one in the first half then gave Bury one for absolutely nothing!
Neil Kilkenny was adjudged to have pulled back Jacob Mellis, who had got a shot in and expected a goal kick, but the referee pointed to the spot! Andrew Tutte ripped the ball out of Leon Clarke’s hands and took the shot towards the bottom left corner and debutant Pickford guessed the right way, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the corner in what was the last real chance of the game.
: Walton, Riley (Jones, 46), P Clarke (Sedgwick, 89), Etuhu (Brown, 76), L Clarke (Nardiello, 80), Mayor (Mellis, 67), Pope (Hope, 67), Soares, Pugh, Cameron (c), Furman (Tutte, 52). Subs not used: Lainton.Bury line-up
: Pickford, Cunningham, Wright, Kilkenny, Keane, Johnson, Gallagher, Garner (Hugill, 74), Welsh (c), Huntington, Smith. Subs not used: Jones, Browne, Reid, Little, Davies, Brownhill.PNE line-up
: Mr D HandleyReferee
: 1,307 (366 PNE fans)Attendance