VERDICT: Burton Albion 2 Bury 2
KEVIN Blackwell believes his Bury side “put down a marker” for their League Two promotion rivals, despite letting a two-goal lead slip in the final 10 minutes at in-form Burton Albion.
The Shakers looked to be coasting after Anton Forrester curled in a fantastic opener and debutant defender William Edjenguele doubled their advantage before the break.
But they were roughed up by a late Burton barrage that threatened to blow them away completely.
Substitute Michael Symes headed last season’s play-off losers back into the game with seven minutes remaining before Bury keeper Rob Lainton failed to keep out a 20-yard shot from Adam McGurk in the final minute.
“I thought first half was as good a performance I have seen from any team at this level for a very long time,” said the 54-year-old Bury boss.
“I’m frustrated the players did not get the win I thought their performance deserved, away from home against a team that is near the top of the table.
“But I think we put down a marker - everybody in the league now knows that Bury are here and we are looking for a good season.”
Blackwell handed debuts to two of last week’s new recruits - former Coventry centre-back Edjenguele and veteran midfielder Tommy Miller.
And while the Sky Blues defender provided a towering presence at the back, Miller showed his Premier League experience to orchestrate Bury's five-man midfield with a flurry of one-touch passing.
It was a quick ball from 19-year-old Jordan Sinnott that led to the opening goal in the 16th minute. Forrester, also 19, took a good first touch to open up space before placing a shot inside the post from the edge of the box.
Edjenguele – already known to fans as Billy Edge – then underlined Bury’s superiority four minutes before the break, heading home Craig Jones’s corner with the help of a wicked deflection.
But in the second half Gary Rowett’s side showed some of the qualities that saw them win 4-1 at Fleetwood the previous week.
Lainton pulled off an amazing instinctive save to palm away a point-blank Rene Howe header shortly after the break but the 24-year-old stopper looked nervous and struggled to deal with a succession of high balls into the box.
The pressure eventually told when he was caught under a McGurk cross from the right, which Symes headed home from close range.
And, after making another decent stop to deny Symes an equaliser, Lainton was unable to get a strong enough hand on to a late McGurk shot, which he pushed into the top corner.
“There is nobody else is coming through the door now, we have just got to try and build an understanding,” said Blackwell at the final whistle.
“All that is letting us down at the moment is a lack of cohesiveness that comes with understanding.”
Burton Albion: Lyness; Delap, Sharps, McCrory, Holness; MacDonald (Symes 65), Bell, Weir (Palmer 65), Hussey, Howe (Knowles 82), McGurk. Not used: Morch, Edwards, Reed, Dyer.
Bury: Lainton 5; Beeley 7, Cameron 7, Edjenguele 7, Roberts 6; Procter 7, Miller 6; Jones 7, Sinnott 7 (Grimes 85), Mayor 6 (Jackson 92); Forrester 9 (Harrad 6 74). Not used: Carson, Hinds, Holden, Reindorf.
Goals: Burton Albion 2 (Symes 83, McGurk 90) Bury 2 (Forrester 16 Edjenguele 41)
Yellow cards: Burtion Albion - Bell 19. Bury – Beeley 29, Edjenguele 45+1, Mayor 55, Forrester 62.
Referee: Charles Breakspear.
Attendance: 2,480 (511 visiting).
Star man: Anton Forrester – Kevin Blackwell made no secret of his desire to sign up last season’s loan sensation Jonson Clarke-Harris from Peterborough, but in Forrester he looks to have found a player in the same mould. The teenage Blackburn loanee is young, strong and hungry for goals, with the pace, power and skill to find them in abundance at this level.
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