REPORT: Bury 2 Stevenage 0

Gary Smith

Gary Smith - Credit: Archant

Stevenage lose to the Shakers in Gary Smith’s last game in charge

Bury 2 Stevenage 0

npower League 1

In what turned out to be Gary Smith’s last match in charge as manager, Stevenage lost to basement side Bury to end a period of four days that in some ways was a microcosm of the club’s season.

It began well, astonishingly so, with a 4-0 thumping of high-flying Sheffield United, but ended dismally with a lacklustre performance against a side that looked like they were destined for the drop.

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Stevenage contrived to hand all the points to the Shakers, and in truth Bury should have been at least two goals up by the break.

They had a first-half penalty saved on 20 minutes when Gavin Mahon brought down Steven Schumacher and the same player got up only to see his spot kick kept out by Steve Arnold.

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And then when a cross into the Boro box five minutes from half-time saw skipper Mark Roberts fail to clear the ball with a diving header, Arnold was forced to save from Andy Bishop before Craig Jones, with the goal gaping, fired over the bar from 10 yards.

In between those two opportunities there were other half-chances for the home side.

Bondz N’Gala got caught waiting for a ball to bounce into his path only for Schumacher to pinch if off him before firing over.

Roberts then attempted a pass across the face of his goal only for a Bury player to pounce on it before the centre-back recovered with a good last-gasp sliding tackle.

There were only two changes for Boro from Saturday’s win with David Gray coming in for Miguel Comminges following suspension and Steve Beleck starting up front with Marcus Haber away on international duty with Canada.

Dani Lopez, Saturday’s hat-trick hero, had a half-chance himself in the first half, only to hit the side-netting, while Gray also fired well over the bar, and Boro were probably pleased to go into the break on level terms.

Beleck, anonymous in the first period, was replaced at the break by Darius Charles, who went up front to partner Lopez.

Comminges was then brought on for the injured Lee Hills, but it was the hosts who went close on 58 minutes when Bishop headed wide.

Charles showed some signs of promise down the wings, and when the ball was played to him on the hour-mark the versatile front man held off his defender before teeing up Akins whose deflected shot was saved by Carson.

Akins then had another effort after Grant found him with a fine ball, only for the wide man to flick his shot just wide of the far post from an awkward angle.

Bury scored with seven minutes of the match remaining after the Shakers broke from a Greg Tansey free-kick near the home team’s corner flag.

Out Bury came, driving forward, and David Worrall sent the ball out to Craig Fagan on the left who sent a long cross over to the far side of the post, with Jones finishing off a Schumacher shot across the area.

Tansey was next to have an effort, but his strike from distance went wide, before at the other end Clarke-Harris eased his way past the Boro defence and struck neatly just inside Arnold’s post to take the game 2-0.

It was another poor display from Stevenage, and once more against a team below them in League 1; in recent weeks they have lost to Carlisle United, Oldham Athletic, Shrewsbury Town, Scunthorpe United, Colchester United, Preston North End and now Bury.

This Sunday is a different task – Gary Smith’s men travel to Tranmere Rovers, whose manager Ronnie Moore was at last night’s game.

He, like everybody else, will be unsure as to what Stevenage side to expect.

Bury: Carson 6, Skarz 6, Eastham, 6 Worrall 7, Sodje 6 (Mezague 77), Schumacher 8, Jones 8, Carrington 6, Ebanks-Landell 6, Bishop 7 (Clarke-Harris 76), Fagan 6 (Ajose 90). Subs: Regan, Thompson.

Stevenage: Arnold 8, Gray 6, Hills 7 (Comminges 51), 5, Roberts 5, N’Gala 4, Grant 5, Dunne 6, Mahon 5, Akins 5, Beleck 4 (Charles 46, 7), Lopez 5 (Tansey 71). Subs: Day, Freeman, Shroot, Hoskins.

Att: 1,396 (44 away)

Ref: Tony Bates.

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