CLARKE’S BACK TO HAUNT CITY

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Josh Ni­cholls

BURY man­ager David Fl­itcroft was strug­gling to find fault with match-win­ner Leon Clarke af­ter the striker reaped havoc against his for­mer club Coven­try City at Gigg Lane.

Clarke, who smashed 28 goals in 45 ap­pear­ances for the Sky Blues, lined up against his for­mer side for the first time since leav­ing for Wolves in Jan­uary 2014 and bagged a stun­ning opener as well as penalty which he won and scored.

Reda John­son pulled a goal back as the visi­tors ral­lied but Bury sur­vived the on­slaught to record their fourth straight league win, leav­ing Fl­itcroft laud­ing the im­pact of his striker, who now has seven for the sea­son.

“The guy is class, no doubt about that,” said Fl­itcroft.“He’s got power and he runs as much as any other player and as much as any for­ward we’ve had at the club since I’ve been here.

“I’m de­lighted with his workrate and his com­mit­ment but the first fin­ish is ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing and he tucked the penalty away beau­ti­fully as well.

“He showed the con­fi­dence he’s got to take that and the com­po­sure he showed is a mark of the top player that he is.”

Against the run of play, Bury took the lead spec­tac­u­larly in the 19th minute as Clarke – booed by the trav­el­ling fans through­out - si­lenced them in stun­ning fash­ion, un­leash­ing a fe­ro­cious left-footed strike which flew into the top cor­ner from the edge of the box af­ter Chris Hussey, another exCoven­try man, cut a free-kick back into his path.

Clarke con­tin­ued to tor­ment his for­mer em­ploy­ers af­ter the break and had his sec­ond five min­utes af­ter the restart. Af­ter a tus­sle with burly Coven­try cen­tre-back John­son in­side the box the lines­man ad­judged that Clarke had been im­peded.

The man of the day picked him­self up, struck the penalty right-footed and although Coven­try goal­keeper Lee Burge got a hand to it, Clarke’s spot kick found the right-hand cor­ner of the net.

John­son atoned for giv­ing away the penalty in the 62nd minute, pow­er­ing a header past Rob Lain­ton af­ter the home de­fence had failed to clear an Adam Armstrong cor­ner.

Lain­ton de­nied sub­sti­tute Mar­cus Tudgay and Sam Rick­etts hit the bar as Coven­try piled on the pres­sure in the clos­ing stages but Bury held firm to claim their first league vic­tory over the Sky Blues in 51 years.

City boss Tony Mow­bray said: “There were plenty of good signs.

“To come here and cre­ate the chances we did. I’m pleased with the amount of chances we cre­ated we prob­a­bly lacked the real qual­ity to fin­ish them off.

“The na­ture of the goals con­ceded is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing but I can’t ask much more of them sec­ond half in terms of con­trol­ling and dom­i­nat­ing the game, we have to take it on the chin un­for­tu­nately. “Ul­ti­mately we ran out of time, the only con­cern was that we didn’t put the ball in their net enough.”

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