Having won their opening match 1-0, Bristol Rovers’ opposition this weekend, Bury, like Rovers contrived to lose their second game of the season 4-1.
Having finished last season just one point above the last relegation spot there has been a lot of change at Bury this summer.
James Vaughan, top scorer for the Shakers last season, departed for Sunderland along with Paul Caddis, Paul Rachubka and Ishmael Miller also exiting Gigg Lane.
Lee Clark made a remarkable 18 summer signings. Winger Harry Bunn has joined from Huddersfield Town, having played 16 times for the Terriers as they won promotion to the Premier League, while Chris Maguire was signed from Oxford United.
Bury opening fixture saw a 1-0 victory at home to Walsall, with the game’s only goal coming from Jermaine Beckford in first-half stoppage time. The victory could have been a lot more convincing, but Beckford and then Maguire both missed penalties.
However last weekend against Wigan was a different story, the Latics took the lead when Michael Jacobs turned in Nick Powell's cross. Newly signed Alex Bruce quickly headed in a leveller against his old side.
Powell then headed in Lee Evans' cross and he made it 3-1 from the spot after Ivan Toney was fouled. Evans scored in stoppage time to make the scoreline even more emphatic.
Former Hull City and Wigan centre-back Bruce, 32, had signed for the Shakers on Friday on non-contract terms. Shakers’ Boss Clark commented, “Hopefully we can sit down with Alex and make that a longer term deal, his experience and his quality on the ball was there for everyone to see.”
“Alex was outstanding until he understandably tired. It was going to be the case because it had been so long since he last had a competitive game.
“The better team won, especially in the second half,” Clark admitted. “I thought we started the game brightly and on the front foot but we gave a disappointing goal away. We scored with a terrific header from Alex from a great set-play by Chris Maguire and had other chances and opportunities by playing decent football.”
“Second half we ended up looking like a very tired team. We played on Thursday night but that’s no excuse. We still didn’t do enough good things. When you’re tired you have to keep possession of the ball far more superior than we did today.
“We gave the ball away so cheaply and it became too easy the second half. The goals that we gave away are not particularly great so we have to have a look at that.”
Rovers record against Bury is remarkably even with 17 victories, 12 draws and 18 defeats. The very first meeting between the clubs took place on 7th September 1953 in a 2nd Division game at Eastville.
Goals by George Petherbridge and Eric Massey (own goal) sent a 29,002 Eastville crowd home happy. The return match at Gigg Lane just nine days later saw the Shakers run out 3-1 winners with Wally Kelly (2) and Ken Plant scoring for the home team and Geoff Bradford for Rovers.
Whilst Rovers have a pretty good home record against the Shakers the away results are woeful. During Rovers' first 7 visits to Bury, they came away with 1 win and 6 defeats. At Eastville, the results were exactly reversed, as Rovers won 6 and lost 1 against their visitors from Lancashire.
Season 1956-57 really showed remarkable results by the two teams. This was during the days when teams played against one another on Christmas Day and the return fixture on Boxing Day.
The Christmas Day Fixture was at Gigg Lane and the Shakers ran out 7-2 victors. Whether they over celebrated their victory or not the Pirates gained their revenge with a 6-1 win the following day. How can a team get 10 goals better or worse in one day?
Amongst the memorable games between the two clubs was one at Eastville on 18th October 1969. Rovers had got off to a good start to the season and were shocked when George Kerr scored after only 4 minutes. After 16 minutes Ray Graydon changed wings with Harold Jarman and scored with a fierce drive. Bury were looking very strong on the break.
In the second half, Graydon again fired in a fierce shot and Lyons in the Shakers goal was beaten just inside his near post to give Rovers a 2-1 victory. Rovers finished the season in 3rd spot (missing out on promotion) and Bury in 19th position.
On 15 November 2003 Rovers fought hard to gain a lead through Lewes Haldene only to throw away an equaliser in the 70th minute to Dan Swailes.
In the push for all three points, they lost to a last minute Joe O’Neil stunner. As so often that season Rovers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! In the 2005-06 season, both teams won the respective home games 1-0, Paul Scott scoring at Gigg Land and Junior Agogo at the Mem. In the 2006-07 season, in Rovers promotion run time the teams met Rovers won both games 2-0, Lewis Haldane and Richard Walker scoring in the away game (the last time Rovers have won at Gigg Lane) and a Ricky Lambert double in the home tie.
When Rovers entertained Bury on 16 November 2013 they made a dream start. After just three minutes, Eliot Richards made a great run down the left and was brought down by Shaun Beeley to win a penalty. John-Joe O’Toole then stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the top left-hand corner.
Ten minutes before half-time a ball in from Shaun Beeley, was headed across goal; Rovers fail to clear and Danny Hylton bundled the ball in from close range. Rovers dominated the second half, they were unable to make their pressure count and score the winner.
In last season’s midweek game at Gigg Lane on 14 March, Stuart Sinclair was shown his second yellow card on 39 minutes, but it took the home team just 5 minutes into the second half before James Vaughan beat Joe Lumley from the penalty spot.
As Rovers looked to get back into the game further goals by Greg Leigh on 65 minutes and Goerge Miller secured the points for the home team.