Following Saturday afternoon's trip to Bury, columnist Sam Wright shares his Match Report;
The game got off to a rapid start, with both teams getting an early touch of the ball. Bury were first to work the keeper after just 2 minutes when they pulled a routine save out of David Grof. However it was to be the Saddlers who bagged the first goal, as Will Grigg pursued a loose back pass, and the keeper fired his clearance off his back and towards goal. From there he just had to poke it home, despite the ‘keepers efforts to pull him down, begging the question; If he missed, would it have been a penalty to put us 1-0 up against 10 men? He didn’t care though, the Saddlers lead on 6 minutes.
This had the fans in great spirits, and we were urging the team to go on and put a few past what we presumed would be a very poor Bury team. However, they proved to be a better challenge than we had expected, and levelled just 4 minutes later. Dominic Poleon working his way in from a wide position to fire well into the far corner. Lackluster defending costing us once again. Bury 1 Walsall 1.
Afterwards though, and it hurts to say it, Bury dominated the first half. For the real first time this season we looked like a lower table team as our passing game really suffered, and the ‘lump it down the middle’ technique somehow managed to sneak in. The home side pulled two more great saves out of Grof, the second of which once again caused by very poor defending as Butler let his man turn
Andy Taylor went off injured after almost half hour and was replaced by the returning James Chambers, who had a solid game throughout. There was one more big chance to come in the half to Bury though, as the ball was looped over Grof’s head, only for Butler to fly across and head the ball off the line to deny a certain goal. The only effort we could manage was a pop shot taken by Cuvelier which flew a good way wide. Half time, we were happy to still be level.
HT: Bury 1 Walsall 1
The Second half started in the same way as the first, with Bury having another early chance. Hopper was once again let to turn and shoot in the box after poor defending from Butler, but his effort cannoned off the post. The next 15 minutes or so can be summed up in few words; Poor passing, Bury keeping possessing, worst football of the season.
The change we had all craved finally came after 65 minutes when Bowerman came on to make it 4-4-2, replacing Baxendale, who had a poor game by his standards. However it failed to liven up our tempo and we remained, unfortunately predictable and flat. Lucky though, by this time Bury were also running out of ideas.
Bowerman did have a good chance, but decided amazingly to go down to win a freekick, which he wasn’t awarded.
Bury created a few more good headed changes which they failed to convert. They only real chance in the dying minutes was freekick for Bury which was wasted. As the game moved into stoppage time, Cuvelier went down and stayed down for around 2 minutes, assuring the game was to die out slowly and indeed finished 1-1.
At the end of the day it is an away point in a tough division, but it is more the performance that will disappoint those who also travelled up to Bury. The first real signs of ugly football were creeping in, and the defence was not good enough to allow us to ‘hoof’ the ball forward and sit back. We need to move on and make sure this is a one off, and it will soon be forgotten. Roll on Lincoln City in the cup.
FT: Bury 1 Walsall 1
My MOTM: David Grof
REF: Mark Heywood
By: Sam Wright