Bristol Rovers newly formed Development Squad travelled to Gigg Lane on Tuesday to take on a more experienced Bury side in the preliminary round of the Premier League U-23 cup competition.
Bury fielded a number of players who together had racked up around 800 league games and included the likes of Anton Rodgers, Callum Styles and keeper Leo Fasan in their starting line up.
Bury started the game strongly with Callum Hulme shooting over inside two minutes having collected a penetrating ball threaded through from centre midfield. Rovers' defensive formation stood up well to the early Bury pressure and cleared a succession of corner kicks from both flanks.
Rovers young players gained confidence as the half progressed and tested Fasan for the first time having broken quickly out of defence through the midfield. Baghdadi went close with a shot that the Bury keeper did well to save low to his left.
Rovers finally broke the deadlock on 36 minutes. A corner from the right was headed down by Rollin Menayese. Striker Kenan Dunnwald reacted first to slot past Fasan from close range. Bury continued to impress down the right and went close but Rovers kept their shape well and saw out the half without being unduly troubled.
Bury started the second period in much the same way as they had started the first. The home side forced two corners on 50 minutes. The second was met by in the Rovers penalty area and the Bury number 11 he did well to beat the advancing Thom Jonkerman in the Rovers goal.
Rovers regrouped to take the game to the home side. The impressive Cameron Ebbutt tested the keeper on 60 mins and then again went close following good work down the left. Rovers continued to press, with their best effort coming from Menayese who saw his powerful header saved on the line.
Bury broke with pace as extra time loomed but Menayese was on hand to clear the danger before the referee blew at the end of normal time.
Extra time saw Bury just about edging the first period and Rovers the second.
Rovers went close winning the game late on when a cross a cross from the right was met by Ebbutt, but Fasan saved well to take the game to penalties.
Both sides endured a mammoth shootout which eventually went to Bury by 12 to 11. It was a cruel end for a Rovers side whose performance overall was a credit to the football club.
Rovers Starting XI: Thom Jonkerman, Jordan Willians (118' Conor Jones), Rollin Menayese, Lewis Ludford-Ison, Michael Kelly, Mohammed Bhagdadi (70' Lewis Ellington), Cameron Hargreaves, Luke Russe, Kunle Otdeko (75' Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis), Cameron Ebbutt, Kenan Dunwald.
Subs: Liam Armstrong, Ben Morgan
Picture courtesy of Bury Football Club