VERDICT: Swindon 0 Bury 1
KEVIN Blackwell’s ringing endorsement of Ashley Eastham’s gutsy display at the County Ground was music to the ears of the young loan defender after enduring a “tough weekend”.
Eastham was at fault for three of Notts County’s four goals in Friday’s 4-1 defeat at Meadow Lane during a nightmare performance in front of the Sky cameras.
But the Shakers boss said the 21-year-old Blackpool centre-back had “fully redeemed himself” after returning to help Bury shut out Swindon and record a vital win over the League One promotion chasers.
“It was a tough weekend to be honest, mentally,” said the Preston-born defender.
“I don’t see myself playing week in, week out like I did, and unfortunately it was on Sky.
“The only way you can bounce back is with a clean sheet and a win.”
Steven Schumacher, who opened the scoring in the Shakers’ defeat at Meadow Lane, was again on the score sheet for Bury, bagging his 10th goal of the season in the first half at Swindon.
Craig Fagan, who had an impressive first start for Bury after replacing the flu-hit Andy Bishop up front, started the move, holding up a long clearance before working the ball to the left.
Joe Skarz eventually put in a low cross from the touchline which Schumacher poked home at the near post.
The goal brought managerless Swindon to life, with Ethan Ebanks-Landell, covering for the injured Stephane Zubar alongside Eastham in central defence, just managing to do enough to put James Collins off his stride as he prepared to bury a breakaway chance on the half hour.
Bury offered little or no threat going forward in the second half, with Fagan manfully ploughing a lone furrow up front. But the Shakers rolled their sleeves up and fought hard, earning themselves six yellow cards in the process as they restricted the home side to just two late chances.
Trevor Carson proved a rock between the Bury posts, palming out a point-blank header from Aden Flint before smothering an Adam Rooney bicycle kick in the final 10 minutes.
Schumacher even managed a late raid on the Swindon goal, with Wes Foderingham just tipping over his blistering freekick. While Luke Rooney wasted a last-minute chance after the otherwise reliable Carson spilled the ball at the substitute’s feet, only for him to snatch at his shot and put it wide.
“I’m just delighted with the three points and focused on putting Friday’s bad performance behind me and never going back to it,” said a relieved Eastham.
“I spoke with friends and family and they just said ‘look you’re a good footballer. “You are 21 and you are going to have bad games so put it behind you and learn from it’.
“Hopefully, in five, six, seven years time, I will look back on that as one of the best things that’s happened in my career, fingers crossed.”
The only blip of an otherwise perfect Tuesday evening for Eastham and Bury waswins for relegation rivals Hartlepool, Colchester and Scunthorpe.
Those results leave the Shakers third-bottom of League One, six points from safety.
SWINDON: Foderingham; McCormack, Flint, Ward, McEveley; Roberts (L Rooney 74), Navarro (N Thompson 60), Miller, De Vita (A Rooney 68); Williams, Collins.
Not used: Bedwell, L Thompson, Oakley.
BURY: Carson 9; Worrall 9, Eastham 9, Ebanks-Landell 9, Skarz 9; Carrington 7, Z Thompson 7; Ajose 7, Schumacher 8, Soares 7 (Jones 79); Fagan 8 (Clarke-Harris 79).
Not used: Belford, Regan, Healy.
Referee: James Adcock.
Attendance: 7,508 (95 visiting).
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