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Bury 0 Sheffield United 2
BURY’S mini-revival was brought to an abrupt end as Kevin Blackwell’s former side outmuscled his current crop for a deserved three points.
The Shakers went into the game unbeaten in four matches, but Blackwell's defensive tactics, which worked so well against high-flyers Doncaster and Brentford, never looked like troubling the Blades.
A first-half strike from Jonathan Forte and a sublime curler from winger Jamie Murphy handed Danny Wilson’s promotion chasers only their second win in seven matches and left Bury five points from safety at the foot of League One.
Bury looked intent on keeping it tight in the early stages but Forte soon had them on the back foot.
The burly striker, who was a real handful from the off, should have done better in the ninth minute when Ryan Flynn’s low cross found him six yards out, but Forte placed his effort straight at Bury keeper Trevor Carson.
After their early scare, the Shakers slowly worked a foothold in the game, but never offered a great deal going forward.
Nicky Ajose produced one bright moment, forcing Sheffield keeper George Long into a diving save to palm his curling shot around the post. But, moments later, Carson found himself at full stretch to scramble the ball clear after a Flynn corner was turned goalwards by Blades centre-back Harry Maguire.
United finally broke the deadlock following a great piece of skill from Forte on 39 minutes that left marker Stephane Zubar rooted to the spot.
The United striker controlled a ball down the left hand channel and knocked it round the Bury defender in one motion before rifling a low shot into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Zubar missed a rare chance to put Bury level on 53 minutes, the centre-back side-footing Steven Schumacher’s inswinging free-kick over from just six yards.
The Shakers were left to rue their missed opportunity on the hour as a United corner was worked back to Murphy on the left.
The midfielder jinked his way into the box before planting a curling right-foot shot into the top corner that ended the match as a contest.