STRIFE OF RILEY INSPIRES SHAKERS
JOE Riley’s straight red card after an insipid first half inspired Bury into a stirring comeback that helped them keep up the pressure on the top three according to Shakers boss David Flitcroft.
The defender was sent for an early shower for a lunge on ex-Bury full-back Tom Newey, leaving Flitcroft’s men with 40-plus minutes to play with ten men.
But depite trailing 1-0 to Ricky Holmes’ early strike, Bury grew in purpose and Adam El-Abd struck the winner at the death after Kelvin Etuhu’s equaliser.
“I was disappointed at half time and I told the players that,” said Flitcroft. “We didn’t move the ball well first half and played on the back foot, which isn’t us.
“Second half we played with more purpose, more adventure, and I think we completely deserved the win. There was a bravery about our performance.
“The referee didn’t have any choice about the red card, it was a rush of blood, but then we showed a real willingness to go and win the game.
“Kelvin Etuhu took on the responsibility and went to a higher level, he really carried us. His goal grabbed the momentum and once we got the momentum it put a fear factor into Northampton.”
The away side took the lead on ten minutes as Holmes notched his fourth goal of the season. Diego De Girolamo slipped the winger in and Holmes slotted home.
The Shakers rarely troubled Northampton goalkeeper Matt Duke in the first half, although Riley crossed to the back post and Tom Soares brought it down on his chest before firing in a low shot that was cleared almost on the line before Riley saw red.
Despite having ten men, the home side pulled level midway through Etuhu. A corner wasn’t cleared and he fired a low shot home to level the scores.
The comeback was complete late on as ElAbd nodded home at the back post to secure the three points for the home side.
Chris Hussey’s corner was flicked on at the near post and El-Abd was left unmarked at the back post to seal the three points and close the gap to the automatic promotion places.
Northampton manager Chris Wilder was disappointed with his side’s performance and believed a result against Bury would have made a big statement, but at the same time praised David Flitcroft’s side for their fightback.
“I’m deflated, I’m disappointed,” he said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the opposition – that’s a reaction, a performance, a result that wins you promotion.
“I’ve been in promotion-winning teams where you have to dig a little bit deep. It galvanised them and it knocked us back.
“It’s a really disappointing result for us as it would have been a big statement for us to get a result here today against a really good side.
“Credit to the opposition though, they’ve produced a second-half fightback that gains you promotion whilst we’ve produced a second-half performance that gains you mid-table obscurity.”
SHAKE IT UP: Adam El-Abd celebrates his winner and, inset, the Bury defender stoops to head home STAR MAN ADAM EL-ABD