Match report: Bury 2 Doncaster Rovers 0

Stephane Zubar and Chris Brown scrap for possession
Stephane Zubar and Chris Brown scrap for possession

ALL good things must come to an end.

A visit to Gigg Lane looked to be the ideal trip to seal a 13th straight away game without defeat against a side heading for a 13th match without a win.

Unlucky for some.

In truth, there was much more than superstition and ill-fate standing the way of Rovers when they met a side fighting for their lives towards the bottom of League One.

Bury are clearly up for the scrap ahead and have plenty of quality within their midfield to craft their way to safety, should they have someone to put away the chances.

If Lady Luck evaded Rovers on Saturday, it was simply because they did not do enough to tempt her favour.

Uncharacteristic poor defending from crosses into the box helped Bury to both goals.

And lacking was the clinical edge which has brought many memorable wins in games where Rovers have been decidedly second best.

Organised Bury had been playing well according to Gigg Lane regulars but the lack of an on-song striker has held back their safety push.

Though they managed two goals against the division’s joint-leaders, it was not through the quality of a frontman.

Andy Bishop did well to glance home only his second goal of the season but should have been much more tightly marked at the near post by the visitors.

And there was more than a little calamity about Nicky Ajose’s bundled effort which doubled the hosts’ advantage.

Opportunities were there for Rovers – 16 of them in total – but they drew just one really good save from Trevor Carson through James Coppinger on 77 minutes.

Things started well enough for Rovers and they looked set to spend the game firmly on the front foot.

Coppinger was thriving in a free role behind Chris Brown and Bury struggled to contain him during the opening exchanges.

Brown ought to have put them in front after 11 minutes but powered his header from a David Cotterill free kick too close to Carson.

Minutes later, Rovers again showed their presence in the opposition box when Brown calmly chested a Tommy Spurr delivery into the path of Dave Syers who could only volley over the bar.

It was the case of the right place, wrong player as Rob Jones drilled over when another Cotterill free kick fell to his feet.

The hosts had no sight of goal until 21 minutes and the frustration of that fact told in Steven Schumacher’s speculative long range strike which drifted well wide.

So it was somewhat surprising when Bishop gave Bury the lead on 25 minutes.

The impressive Ajose pounced on a quickly taken throw to volley a cross and Bishop was alert enough to get ahead of Jones and glance a header past Woods, who did not seem to be expecting it either.

Buoyed by the goal, Bury took command and dominated the rest of the half.

It took a fine block from Jamie McCombe to deny Bishop a second when he turned smartly after receiving a short pass into the box from Tom Soares.

But McCombe will have been a little disappointed with his part in Bury’s second on 35 minutes.

Both he and Cotterill did not react quickly enough at the back post as Joe Skarz’s deep corner drifted in and Ajose sneaked in to bundle the ball over the line from just a couple of feet out.

Bury stifled Rovers superbly following their second goal, ensuring Brian Flynn’s side barely broke out of their own half.

Flynn’s men came out with a much greater tempo in the second half.

Billy Paynter came off the bench to add further presence to the front line, replacing Kyle Bennett who seemed to want to impress a little too much against his former club.

Much of the best play for Rovers after the break came through the unlikely figure of full back Paul Quinn who galloped forward at every given opportunity and sent in some decent deliveries.

Bishop should have wrapped the game up for Bury on the hour when he darted clear of Jones and McCombe to collect Ajose’s superbly weight ball over the top but powered his strike straight at Woods.

Rovers again found themselves with a defender in a striker’s position with McCombe firing over from ten yards out after Ashley Eastham blocked a Brown shot.

It was one way traffic in the later stages with Coppinger drawing a superb one-handed save from Carson 13 minutes from time while Cotterill went close with a low curling effort.

Brown sent a free header over the bar from a teasing Coppinger cross and Paynter tested Carson’s reflexes with a first time strike from the touchline.

The last chance fell to the hosts with Woods producing a superb reaction stop from Soares while Zac Thompson could only turn over the rebound.

There was enough evidence to suggest this could just be a minor blip in the grand scheme of a successful season for Rovers.

Such strong organisation does not disappear overnight and there remains plenty of goals throughout the side.

At least that 13th game is out of the way.