Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
A goal in each half from Sullay Kaikai and Abu Ogogo – his first for the club – were enough to see off a Bury side that had seen an unbeaten away run stretching back to January, ended in midweek at Bradford. Kaikai scored with a well-drilled shot through Bury keeper Aaron McCarey just before the half hour, and Ogogo’s acrobatic volley with sixteen minutes left was stunning in its execution, and worthy of winning any football match.
There were two changes to the Shrewsbury side that lost to a late Doncaster goal at the Meadow on Tuesday night. Zak Whitbread started for a first time and Tyrone Barnett was back to lead the line. On the bench, recent capture Anthony Gerrard wore blue and amber for the first time. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was back amongst the subs with Ian Black and Mark Ellis both omitted from the eighteen.
The floodlights were on from the off with Bury – wearing their change kit of all grey - starting the game attacking the Salop Leisure Stand end of the stadium. And they started it well with full back Chris Hussey’s probing cross forcing Whitbread into a clearance over his own bar in the six yard box.
Leon Clarke did have the ball in the net for The Shakers but was rightly penalised for a clear push on Whitbread after 14 minutes. Bury had been the dominant side in the opening quarter hour with Hussey and Danny Mayor a constant threat down Salop’s right hand side. And Reece Brown – brother of former Manchester United defender Wes – soon sent Jayson Leutwiler sprawling to turn behind a daisy cutter from all of 30 yards, as the visitors continued to set the pace of the game. Time and again Hussey was the outlet ball for Bury and he put in a succession of quality deliveries with Clarke nearly always the intended target. In fairness to Town, they were defending well enough, although they needed to prevent the supply line in order to limit the danger.
Despite Bury having the lion’s share of the game it was Shrews who came within a coat of paint of snatching the lead after 24 minutes. Junior Brown did well on the left hand side and his cross was hit on the full by Kaikai’s left boot only for the post to deny the youngster a fourth Town goal. It was a venomous shot and McCarey in the Bury goal would have been powerless to keep it out.
Kaikai didn’t have long to bank that fourth goal though when Ogogo played him in on 28 minutes. This time, it was the right boot packing all the power and the pace on the shot was what took it past McCarey from around 15 yards. The goal was against the run of play – no question – although Town had enjoyed their best moments of the game just before Sullay’s opener. Even the sun came out as the prospects of another gloomy day were cast aside for a while.
It was Shrews that held the lead at the break but the away side were looking very dangerous going forward.
Half-Time: Town 1 Bury 0
Kaikai failed to emerge from the tunnel after the break, with Akpa Akpro getting 45 minutes against his former club – having netted a hat-trick in this fixture last season. There were audible claims for a penalty from the South Stand regulars when Barnett seemed to be impeded as he went to meet Brown’s cross, but referee Mr. Ward wasn’t interested. But it was the kind of position from which Barnett had profited against Colchester a few weeks ago, so it seemed a decent enough shout.
Shakers’ boss David Flitcroft had the luxury of being able to call on striker Tom Pope, with Chris Eagles withdrawn having been on the peripheries of the game for 50 minutes, and clearly not match fit. Bury fans thought their team had scored when Brown’s shot made the netting ripple, but the ball had rebounded from the net support behind the goal and a corner was their only reward. NKP took a yellow for wrestling Pope to the floor when the former Port Vale star looked to have a route to goal, and then Brown’s last action of the afternoon before being replaced by Danny Rose, was also a yellow for felling Larnell Cole.
Akpa Akpro fired straight at McCarey in a rare bit of activity from either goalkeeper with 25 minutes of the game remaining, and still that solitary goal from Kaikai the difference. Gerrard came on for Mat Tootle but almost instantly Bury nearly levelled. Mayor jinked into the box and only a very strong right arm from Leutwiler stopped the ball from finding its way into the net. It proved to be a crucial save.
James Collins came on for Cole who had just been the recipient of a foul by Jacob Mellis who was booked. Collins was instantly involved in the build-up to Town’s second and it was a moment of sheer brilliance from Ogogo. The ball was stood up to the edge of the box and the midfielder caught it beautifully to direct his volley right into the top corner of the net. He won’t score a better goal if his career ends in his nineties.
That was pretty much it with The Shakers stunned and much of their fight extinguished. Town protected their lead comfortably and earned a second Greenhous clean sheet of the campaign to bring loud cheers at the sound of the final whistle.
Full-Time: Town 2 Bury 0
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle (Anthony Gerrard, 69), Nat Knight-Percival, Zak Whitbread, Liam Lawrence (c), Junior Brown, Dom Smith, Sullay Kaikai (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 46), Larnell Cole (James Collins, 73), Tyrone Barnett, Abu Ogogo
Subs not used: Shaun Rowley (GK), Liam McAlinden, Mat Sadler, Jordan Clark
Bury: Aaron McCarey, Joe Riley, Chris Hussey, Peter Clarke, Jacob Melis, Leon Clarke, Danny Mayor, Tom Soares, Nathan Cameron (c) (Khalid Mohammed, 84), Chris Eagles (Tom Pope, 50), Reece Brown (Danny Rose, 60)
Subs not used: Jack Ruddy, Chris Sedgwick, Scott Burgess, Anthony Dudley
Referee: Gavin Ward
Assistants: Ian Smedley & Christopher Ward
Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua
Attendance: 4,945 (including 525 from Bury)