ON-LOAN TOM BURIES STAGS
IT DIDN’T take long for Tom Eaves to make an impact at Bury and boss David Flitcroft was left beaming at his debutant’s display.
The on-loan Bolton forward’s positive running won the Shakers’ 21st minute free-kick that led to the winner, which was enough to extend their unbeaten run at Mansfield to six games.
It also stretched promotionchasing Bury’s winning run on the road to three and prevented Mansfield from putting further daylight between themselves and the drop zone.
Flitcroft said: “Tom Eaves carried us here and gave us something a little bit different. He had a fabulous debut. I was delighted with his performance and with getting him here.
“We have got a fantastic array of strikers but he is definitely different.
“We wanted a big, mobile target man, but he is more than just robust. He has got a good touch, is comfortable on the ball and retains it.
“It was an immaculate, professional performance by the whole squad in terms of going 1-0 up and then being disciplined, organised and professional. We locked the game down.”
The decisive goal came from Chris Hussey’s cross at the freekick won by Eaves. Mansfield defender Ryan Tafazolli tried to clear to safety but couldn’t prevent Nathan Cameron poking home.
Eaves almost added a second nine minutes before half-time with a terrific volleyed finish from a sweeping cross-field move, but the livewire striker was ruled offside as he met Nicky Adams’ teasing cross.
Mansfield pressed hard to deny Bury space for their fluid, passing style but they couldn’t create any clear-cut chances at the other end.
The closest Mansfield came to an equaliser in the first half was Lee Beevers’ surging run and drive over the bar and Jack Thomas’ injury-time deflected shot that was tipped over by Nick Pope.
They went closer in the 65th minute when Reggie Lambe’s side-footed close range finish was blocked by the keeper after a clever back heel from Vadaine Oliver, but failed to test Pope.
Stags boss Adam Murray said: “That was very disappointing. I will accept bad games and I accept players having off days. What I won't accept is a lack of application and desire.
“The majority of those players went through the motions and it wasn’t good enough.We gave the game to them and conceded a poor goal.
“It was an awful game and that goal probably summed it up tp be honest.
“It hurts because for the majority of time I have been in charge, these players have given everything for me and the club.
“They now have to pick themselves up and go again on Tuesday against play-off chasing Wimbledon.
“We have ten games to go and need to get our focus back. We have to take care of our own business and not be looking over our shoulders at what everyone else is doing.”
STAR MAN TOM EAVES
Bury TUSSLE: Mansfield’s Ryan Tafazolli tries to stop Bury’s Tom Eaves. Inset: Nathan Cameron watches as his header gives Bury a 1-0 lead