Shakers undone by offside call - Shirtliff
PETER Shirtliff believes a “dubious” offside decision handed Coventry all three points after the Shakers had battled back from a nightmare start.
Leon Clarke bullied Bury centre-back Ashley Eastham off the ball before slotting home the opener in the third minute.
But the Gigg Lane outfit withstood an early onslaught to force their way back into the game and Craig Jones thought he had netted the equaliser with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The substitute’s calm finish was unjustly ruled out, according to the Shakers' assistant manager, and Coventry captain Carl Baker drilled in the Sky Blues’ second five minutes later to leave Bury five points from safety in League One.
“When you get off to a bad start like we did it’s psychologically difficult,” said Shirtliff.
“The first goal gave us a mountain to climb but they stuck to their task quite well and I always thought we were in the game.
“We just needed that break to get on even terms and I thought the (offside) goal that young Jonesy scored was a dubious decision.
“It’s not conclusive - and that makes it 1-1, and you see goals change games.”
The Shakers were immediately put on the back foot after Clarke outmuscled Eastham to get on the wrong side of the Bury defender and make the most of a hopeful ball down the Sky Blues’ left channel.
Coventry could have made life even easier for themselves after Stephen Elliott hit the post on six minutes, while James Bailey’s curling shot from the rebound was headed off the line by Joe Skarz.
But Bury got back into it. David Worrall, on his first start since recovering from a thigh strain, tested Coventry keeper Joe Murphy with a volley.
Andy Bishop then wasted a great chance on the stroke of half time, taking too long to get off a shot on the penalty spot, before seeing his eventual effort bobble wide of the post.
After withstanding early pressure at the start of the second half, Bishop countered with a header that clipped the crossbar just after the hour.
Then Jones – brought on to spare Carl Regan further punishment from the impressive Gary McSheffrey - traded passes with make-shift right-back Worrall before slotting the ball past Murphy, but his low shot was ruled offside.
Once Baker nailed Coventry’s second, dummying to shoot with his right before drilling a left-footed strike into the bottom corner from just inside the box, the game fizzled out as a contest, although Nicky Ajose had a late effort cleared off the line.
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