SHAKERS boss Kevin Blackwell had only praise for his side after Cherries striker Brett Pitman came off the bench to grab an injury-time leveller.
A win would have lifted the Gigg Lane side out of the relegation zone, but, far from being disappointed, the Bury manager described the clash as “a great advert for League One football”.
That Bury’s players were bemoaning a failure to defeat the club with the largest and most expensive squad in the division and who are now unbeaten in 10 matches, speaks volumes for how far the Gigg Lane men have come since they were adrift at the foot of the table several weeks ago.
Of the four goals, Bury’s opener on 15 minutes was by far the best. Peter Sweeney, in for the injured captain Steven Schumacher, slipped a superb pass inside the Bournemouth left-back, Charlie Daniels, to free Matt Doherty down the Bury right.
His inch-perfect cross was met at the near post by Troy Hewitt who gave former England goalkeeper David James no chance from close range.
The Shakers continued to boss the first half and might have stretched their lead, but 42-year-old James showed his pedigree when he turned Sweeney’s 29th-minute free kick round the post.
The visitors predictably came out for the second half all guns blazing and were briefly awarded a 53rd-minute penalty after referee Carl Boyeson adjudged Doherty had handled the ball at the back post.
But, after protests from Bury, Mr Boyeson consulted his linesman and awarded a corner instead.
“I’ve got to praise the referee,” said Blackwell. “There have been many times when referees have been so arrogant and think that if they are seen to change their mind, it’s a sign of weakness. “But, to be fair to him, he spoke to his assistant, and they agreed Doherty had headed the ball out.”
Bournemouth, however, did not have to wait long for a deserved equaliser. Daniels raided down the right and Lewis Grabban was there for a neat finish.
Although the south coast men penned Bury back, the hosts always looked a threat on the break, and so it proved 13 minutes from time when David Worrall capitalised on a James error to restore the Shakers lead.
The pacey Worrall followed in his long-range shot, which was blocked in the penalty area. James advanced to collect the ball, but Worrall beat him to it and clipped it past the veteran keeper into the empty net.
Bournemouth’s undefeated run looked at risk, but deep into injury time substitute Pitman, who returned to the Cherries this week after an unhappy spell at Bristol City, dispossessed Ethan Ebanks-Landell on the edge of his own area before curling the ball inside Trevor Carson’s far post.
Former Bury man Mark Pugh might have grabbed a winner for Bournemouth even after that, but his 25-yard shot came back off the crossbar.
“It was a great advert for League One football,” said Blackwell. “An absolutely corking game, and I am so proud of my players.”