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Match Report: Bury 3-3 Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town surrendered a three-goal lead at Gigg Lane to return to West Yorkshire with just a point.

Town raced into a three-goal lead within 30 minutes and looked home and dry but shoddy second half defending and a non-existent midfield allowed Bury to salvage a point.

So many times this season The Terriers have squandered two-goal leads and the same was said five days earlier at Stevenage which means Town have now, from winning positions this week, only picked up two points from a maximum six as the promotion charge continues to stutter.

What made matters worse had Town seen it out at both Stevenage and Bury we really would have been breathing down 2nd place Sheffield United’s neck as they lost 3-2 at home to Oldham Athletic.

How those 200-plus Town fans must feel who walked over 25 miles from Canalside to Gigg Lane to raise money for the ‘Keep it Up’ campaign to see us bottle it against a mid-table League One side.

Simon Grayson made three changes from the team that drew with Stevenage. Back in came top scorer Jordan Rhodes after internationally duty to take the place of Alan Lee, Antony Kay was given a rare start along with Scott Arfield in place of Oscar Gobern and Danny Cadamarteri respectively. Joey Gudjonsson kept his place in midfield for the second match running.

Town were straight out of the blocks with Gudjonsson and Kay both having long-range efforts blocked by Bury players. Bury ‘keeper Trevor Carson made the first save of the match albeit it was a comfortable one as Rhodes’ header was tame from Jack Hunt’s cross.

In the 13th minute Carson was beaten but fortunately for him the effort was off target. Phil Picken fouled Lee Novak down the left flank and Danny Ward’s free-kick into the Bury penalty area was met by Jamie McCombe but the big defender’s flicked on header flew wide of the post.

Kay hit a half volley that flew wide from Arfield’s flick-on but The Terriers took the lead with 21 minutes played.
Novak’s shot was blocked by former Town left-back Joe Skarz and from the resulting corner with the ball bobbling around the six yard box Sean Morrison slammed the ball into the net from close range to register his first goal in Town colours.

Bury looked weak defensively and were missing former Town defender Efe Sodje through suspension as Ward’s forward surges troubled the Bury backline.

Sure enough four minutes later Town were two-nil up from an excellent counter attack. Terriers ‘keeper Alex Smithies quick throw after a Bury corner allowed Rhodes to start the move, Rhodes passed to Arfield who threaded through Ward on the left wing and Ward’s neat cut back was perfect for Rhodes who glanced his header into the far corner beyond Carson.

The Town fans in the crowd were wondering at two-nil would they again surrender the lead but when they raced into a three-goal lead 3 minutes later it looked as though it was game, set and match.
The Bury defence was all over the place and a pass from Gudjonsson to Arfield caught The Shakers cold and Rhodes was there to slam home his second goal of the afternoon into the top corner.

Bury hit back immediately on 31 minutes through former Bradford City midfielder Steven Schumacher. Gudjonsson fouled Picken 30 yards from goal and Schumacher’s powerful drive took a deflection that wrong footed Smithies to pull one back for the home side.

Just four minutes later Bury were close to reducing the deficit when former Leeds striker Mike Grella went close from a well-planned free-kick. Hunt fouled David Worrall on the left flank, Skarz took the free-kick laying the ball off for Grella who stabbed the ball just wide of the post.

Ward had a goal-bound effort blocked by Bury defender Mark Hughes but The Shakers looked dangerous from set-pieces. McCombe was in the right place to clear as Schumacher’s free-kick caused problems in the Town penalty area.

Calum Woods replaced Jack Hunt at the break who had been booked for a challenge on Worrall.

The home side had the first chance of the second 45 when sub David Amoo forced Smithies into a smart low save before McCombe cleared the danger.

Gudjonsson forced Carson into a save from long range that was palmed away for a corner and then smart play by Novak allowed Ward a chance but the winger’s shot straight at the Bury stopper.

The Icelandic midfielder was in the right place to block an effort on the line from a Bury corner and at the other end Ward could really killed off the game on 66 minutes. Hughes and Worrall got in a mix-up which allowed Ward to sprint away at goal but the winger’s shot hit the crossbar when instead he could have played in Rhodes.

Bury sub Lateef Elford-Alliyu had a tame effort straight at Smithies but the winger played his part to reduce the deficit to one on 70 minutes. The winger raced away to the byline down the Town left and picked out Lenell John-Lewis whose scuffed shot looped into the net as the Town defence stood like statues.

Ward was then replaced on 77 minutes with Oscar Gobern which baffled the Town fans as most of our attacks were coming through the winger but manager Grayson said after the match that he had cramp.

McCombe headed wide when Woods’ cross was put on a plate for the big defender but he glanced his header wide and at the other end Ashley Eastham headed agonisingly wide from Peter Sweeney’s cross.

As the match headed into five minutes of added time (I have no idea where the officials got 5 minutes from) it looked as though Town would hold on for all three points but it wasn’t to be. In the 92nd minute Sweeney’s corner found Eastham at the far post and he stabbed the ball past the diving Smithies to rescue a point for The Shakers.

Bury showed some fighting spirit in the second half but we should have seen the game out there is no question about it. The defence was slack and the midfield went A-Wall in the second half, we were second to every ball and that is what allowed Bury back in the game. To throw away a two-goal lead is shocking but to throw a three-goal lead away is criminal. I agree with Simon Grayson’s comments of the team being naïve, the mentality of the players needs addressing, as soon as a team hit one goal back we look to panic and run around like headless chickens. A team of nearly-men are never remembered only winners are remembered.

Sean’s Star Man – Danny Ward
Hitting form at the moment and gave another impressive performance at Gigg Lane. His pace and trickery again causing problems and was our main attacking threat all afternoon. Grabbed two assists.


Teams:

Bury: Carson, Picken, Skarz, Hughes, Eastham, Sweeney, Worrall, Schumacher, Carrington (Amoo 46), John-Lewis (Bishop 82), Grella (Elford-Alliyu 68).
Subs not used: Branagan, Jones.

Town: Smithies, Naysmith, McCombe, Kay, Morrison, Hunt (Woods 46), Gudjonsson, Ward (Gobern 78), Arfield, Rhodes, Novak (Roberts 88).
Subs not used: Bennett, Lee.

Referee: F Graham
Attendance: 5,988 (3,270 Town fans).

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