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Crunch defeat puts Bury boss in the firing line
KEVIN Blackwell left Gigg Lane with chants of “Blackwell out” ringing in his ears after 10-man Colchester hung on to deal Bury’s survival chances a killer blow.
The Shakers could not have been handed a better start after the visitors’ George Porter was sent off for a deliberate stamp in the early exchanges and Craig Fagan opened his Bury account on 26 minutes.
But that triggered a crazy two-minute spell that saw former Bury trainee Josh Thompson power in a commanding header and Clinton Morrison curl in the winner.
Blackwell’s side laid siege to the Us goal in a thrilling second half but could not find a way past inspired stopper Sam Walker, and Bury’s sixth defeat in seven matches ended with the fans baying for blood.
“Yes (the crowd turned on me) but that always happens when you’re team is losing,” said Blackwell.
“We’re in a (transfer) embargo and I’m not a magician. I take the fans for being a bit smarter – maybe they’re not.”
Despite the acrimonious ending, for the majority of the match the scant home crowd got behind the players, who put in a much improved performance.
After referee Robert Madley brandished a straight red for Porter’s third-minute tackle on Mark Carrington it looked like it was going to be Bury’s day.
Fagan had already wasted one decent chance before a miscued Steven Schumacher shot fell at his feet in the box and he needed no second invitation to blast the ball into the bottom corner.
But the Shakers’ defence hit the panic button and, within five minutes of opening the scoring, they were behind.
Bolton-born Thompson rose highest to power home Billy Clifford’s corner on 29 minutes, and, two minutes later, Morrison pounced after the ball broke free in the box.
The Colchester goal looked like the Alamo at times after that, with a series of goalmouth scrambles, fantastic saves from Walker and two offside decisions keeping Bury at bay.
It was not until Blackwell replaced the influential Craig Jones with David Healy five minutes from time that the home crowd finally turned, but the Bury boss refused to pass the blame on to his players.
“They were outstanding today, absolutely outstanding,” he said.
“The only thing they didn’t do was finish off their chances.
“I feel for them, but that’s the way it is when you’re down there, you get kicked in the teeth.”
The result left Bury bottom of League One, 13 points behind Colchester, who sit two places above the relegation zone, and eight points from safety.