Gillespie’s skill from 12 yards in vain...
LEE Clark was grateful that Bury’s blushes were spared after they missed two penalties but still ground out a narrow win at home to Walsall.
New signing Jermaine Beckford was denied from the spot by a fine Mark Gillespie save inside the opening two minutes, following Florent Cuvelier’s trip on Stephen Dawson.
But the forward responded expertly by heading home Chris Maguire’s free-kick just before the break.
Maguire also had the chance to strike a debut goal from 12 yards when Jon Guthrie felled Zeli Ismail, but he was thwarted by Gillespie, who pushed his effort onto the post.
Walsall then rallied and tried to nick a draw right at the death, but Bury held out – much to the relief of Clark.
“We missed two penalties and when that happens you get the feeling it’s not going to be your day and they might sneak an equaliser, but the lads withstood the pressure,” he said.
“I don't think either penalty was a bad penalty. You’ve got to credit their keeper for two terrific saves, so I wouldn’t hesitate for either Jermaine or Chris to take another one.
“The natural-born strikers miss a sitter and 30 seconds later, they get the same chance and score it.
That’s what you’ve got to be like and that’s how Jermaine is.”
“I’m happy because you always want to start the season with a win and the clean sheet is a great start for us. Defensively, we looked strong and we stopped them from hurting us in the areas they wanted to.”
Visiting boss Jon Whitney moved to hail debutant goalkeeper Gillespie after the whistle, but he questioned his side’s discipline after twice gifting Bury the chance to score from the spot.
Whitney said: “He [Gillespie] works on that a lot with Cuts [Walsall goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler]. They did that in the hotel before the game. They knew where the strikers would put the ball so he made his mind up early from the preparation they’ve done.
“I’m disappointed because of the efforts the lads have put in, especially in the first half. It’s a bit of a sucker punch with the goal.
“Let’s face it, we can’t keep coming away from home and conceding two penalties because he won’t always be there to save them. Our discipline needs to be better. We gave away too many free-kicks in the second half.
“We fell into their hands a bit and made it a scrappy affair.”