The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Michael Hen­son

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.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

SHAKE IT UP: Adam El-Abd cel­e­brates his win­ner and, inset, the Bury de­fender stoops to head home STAR MAN ADAM EL-ABD


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