Ace Craig does the busi­ness for Bury

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

THE dreaded Man­ager of the Month curse struck again on a day of firsts at the Banks’s Sta­dium.

Hav­ing led Wal­sall to the top of the ta­ble, League One’s top boss in Au­gust Dean Smith saw his Sad­dlers slip to a first league de­feat.

Craig Jones’ sixth-minute strike handed pro­moted Bury a first league win of the sea­son af­ter the Shakers had en­dured a shaky start to life at the new level, par­tic­u­larly at the back.

And that was why the most pleas­ing ‘first’ for Bury boss David Fl­itcroft was a maiden clean sheet as he looks to get his side back to their old stingy ways.

Bar­ring cri­sis club Black­pool, Fl­itcroft’s men had the worst de­fen­sive record in the di­vi­sion go­ing into the game but they com­fort­ably kept the free-scor­ing Sad­dlers at bay.

And Fl­itcroft beamed: “We had to de­fend in num­bers and we showed a high amount of re­solve.

“Our two cen­tre-halves, Peter Clarke and Nathan Cameron, were fan­tas­tic here.

“It was a strong part of our game last sea­son. We kept a lot of clean sheets – out of 17 games at the back end of last sea­son, I think we kept 13 clean sheets.

“It was a char­ac­ter of the team so the mis­takes we have been mak­ing this sea­son have been out of char­ac­ter.

“This team can de­fend, even though the stats don’t show that.

“So we’ve gone back to ba­sics as we know we al­ways look threat­en­ing.”

In­deed, they looked very threat­en­ing in the open­ing quar­ter of the game and Fl­itcroft was proud of how his side played against a team that has set the early pace in League One.

He added: “We were or­gan­ised and struc­tured but for the first 20 min­utes I think it was bet­ter than that. We caused them real prob­lems, es­pe­cially down the left-hand side.

“There were times when we should have put the game out of sight but we’ve beaten a very, very good team. “What Dean has built here should be a blue­print for lower league English football, it re­ally should.

“Six years in the build­ing process and they play football the right way, the phi­los­o­phy is great and they can at­tack you with a real verve so to get this re­sult was fan­tas­tic.”

Bury have scored in ev­ery game they have played this sea­son and took just six min­utes to ex­tend that streak into another week.

Danny Mayor’s clever ball slipped Jones into space in the right side of the box and he flashed a fine fin­ish across keeper Craig MacGil­livray into the far bot­tom cor­ner.

Af­ter the goal, Bury sat back and though they de­fended well, they still owed much to keeper Rob Lain­ton for en­sur­ing the lead stayed in­tact.

He made fly­ing saves to foil well­struck long-range ef­forts from Sam Man­tom and Ro­maine Sawyers, and re­acted well to claw James O’Con­nor’s header out of his near post.

Af­ter the break, it was a sim­i­lar story as Bury de­fended su­perbly and when Wal­sall did get through, Lain­ton pulled off a fine save to thwart Man­tom’s strike.

The keeper re­acted smartly late on too, pre­vent­ing what would have been an un­for­tu­nate own goal from Tom Soares, who then went and fluffed a golden chance to seal it at the other end.

But his miss did not mat­ter as Bury held out, leav­ing Wal­sall man­ager Smith frus­trated, but not too down­hearted.

Smith said: “It was frus­trat­ing. But you don’t al­ways get what you de­serve in life and here we didn’t get what we de­served.

“We didn’t start the game par­tic­u­larly well and they got their noses in front and that gave them some­thing to hold on to.

“The dif­fer­ence was in the 18-yard box. Their keeper has made some good saves and our fin­ish­ing could have been a bit bet­ter.

“My play­ers have given ev­ery­thing but it just wasn’t to be.”

HAVE SOME OF THAT: Craig Jones scores the only goal of the game



ON Bury

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