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VERDICT: Bury 0 Newport County 0
A SECOND clean sheet of the season and a hard-earned point at home to Newport County was not enough to satisfy the Gigg Lane boo boys.
Manager Kevin Blackwell admitted after a section of Bury’s own fans taunted him with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” and boos at the final whistle that he had given up pleading for patience.
While the draw stretched the Shakers’ unbeaten record at home to five in all competitions and edged them up two places in League Two to 18th, it also made it six games without a win – a more relevant fact for the disgruntled supporters.
Their response was met with a shrug by Blackwell, however, who feels his side is still a work in progress following the club’s summer takeover.
He was instead eager to focus on missed chances from debutant Marco Navas and Tom Soares.
“The club is developing on and off the pitch and I’m pleased with how it is going,” said Blackwell.
“I’d like it to be a sprint rather than a marathon, but life’s a marathon.
“There was some frustration again from the crowd and I think it’s unjust.
“You can’t persuade people who don’t want to listen – so I’m not going to waste my time trying.
“Anyone here saw us dominate for long spells. Had any one of those chances gone in then we’d have walked off happy.”
Blackwell handed a first league start to goalkeeper Brian Jensen after Trevor Carson joined league rivals Portsmouth on loan last week while new signing Jordan Mustoe replaced captain Gareth Roberts at left-back after arriving on loan from Wigan.
There was also a belated first start for Marco Navas, brother of Manchester City winger Jesus, and he sliced an early shot wide after cutting in from the right.
Striker Anton Forrester’s cross then found Navas unmarked but the Spanish winger headed wide.
Navas was playing on the right of a five-man midfield in a system normally prefered by Blackwell in away matches. The 4-5-1 formation – used for the first time in front of the home fans this season – saw Bury enjoy plenty of possession around the Newport box. But, other than Forrester’s cross, they continued to struggle with the final ball.
Newport threatened with Danny Crow hooking the ball wide from an Adam Chapman corner while Lee Minshull’s header was cleared from under the Bury bar.
The visitors made an attacking change at half time in a bid to counteract Bury’s extra man in midfield and although Forrester headed over shortly after the break, Chapman had a decent chance when he shot too close to Jensen.
Soares then scuffed a shot straight at Newport keeper Lenny Pidgeley before volleying over from Shaun Beeley’s centre. And he put a gilt-edged chance just wide from six yards after getting on the end of a cross from Navas.
Blackwell brought on Craig Jones and his loose pass saw a great chance go begging. Jordan Sinnott was charging down the right channel and wanted the ball on his right foot but Jones’s pass was underhit, and Sinnott was forced to improvise with his left, chipping a tame effort straight at Pidgeley from the edge of the box.
But for all Bury’s possession, ninth-placed Newport went closest to claiming a late winner, with Minshull’s header tipped over by Jensen and Chapman firing wide.
“We’re all disappointed,” said Blackwell. “We played some great stuff first half, but if you don’t take your chances, you can’t win games. "Marco Navas would have finished his chance in training but it’s the pressure of playing on the big stage.
“Second half Newport turned it into a battle, they brought on some big lads, but we had two or three good chances second half too, and Tom Soares should have scored at least one.”
Bury: Jensen 7; Beeley 7, Cameron 7, Edjenguele 7, Mustoe 7; Navas 7 (Jones 66, 6), Sinnott 8, Miller 6 (Mayor 82), Procter 6, Soares 6; Forrester 7 (Harrad 71, 6). Not used: Hinds, Holden, Sedgwick, Charles- Cook.
Newport: Pidgeley; Pipe, Worley, James (Zebroski 46), Yakubu; Flynn (Naylor 76), Chapman, Minshull, Hughes; Crow (Willmott 85), Washington. Not used: Jackson, Jones, Stephens.
Yellow cards: Bury – Edjenguele 90; Newport – Worley 28, Flynn 34.
Referee: Richard Clark.
Attendance: 3,093 (226 visitors).
Star man: Jordan Sinnott – For the first time this season, Kevin Blackwell opted for a five-man midfield at home, allowing him to play Sinnott in the centre alongside Tommy Miller and Andy Procter. The young Huddersfield loanee showed he was worthy of a starting place with some sharp passing and a series of surging runs. Substitute Craig Jones did him no favours with a pass late on that, had it been in front of Sinnott, would have laid on a decent scoring opportunity on his right foot.
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