FULL-TIME: Bury 1 Northampton Town 1

DAVID Flitcroft opened his account as Bury manager with a hard-earned point at home to fellow relegation strugglers Northampton Town.

Danny Nardiello put Bury ahead through the penalty spot, but the home side handed the initiative back to the Cobblers after Dean Howell headed into his own net.

And Chris Hackett let them off the hook after blasting over a first-half penalty for the visitors.

Bury dominated possession in the opening stages and saw half chances for Tom Soares and Shaun Harrad go just wide before they eventually opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.

The goal followed a dubious penalty decision by referee Nigel Miller, who adjudged Craig Jones’ leap to get on the end of a Harrad cross was unfairly blocked by Northampton skipper Paul Reid.

Nardiello made no mistake from spot, firing straight down the middle to claim his third goal in five games for Bury since joining on loan from Rotherham United.

But the visitors’ more direct style started to pay dividends and they were back on level terms within six minutes as a Hackett free-kick looped into the far corner off the head of Bury defender Howell.

Both sides had near misses, with Clive Platt heading over for the Cobblers and Jones just failing to connect with a Nardiello cross, before Aidy Boothroyd’s side were given a stoppage-time penalty after William Edjenguele hacked down Izale McLeod.

Hackett stepped up but did a pretty good impersonation of Chris Waddle circa 1990, opening up his body and blazing the ball high and wide with his right foot.

Neither side were able to wrestle control of the game in the second as both goalkeepers made good saves to keep the scores level.

Duke was out quickly to block a Nardiello volley while Jensen spread himself to deny McLeod, who had ghosted in behind the Bury defence.

The game did threaten to boil over after Chris Sedgwick was forced off with a bad cut over his right eye but the referee decided it came from an accidental clash rather than an elbow from left-back Joe Widdowson.

And Bury could easily have lost it at the end as Mathias Doumbe broke their offside trap but put his attempted lob wide.

The point moved Bury up a place to 19th in a congested bottom half of the League Two table, just two points ahead of second-bottom Northampton Town in the relegation places.

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