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VERDICT: Bury 2 Scunthorpe United 2
LAST-gasp goal hero Daniel Nardiello admitted he was lucky to still be on the pitch to help Bury claim a much-needed point at home to 10-man Scunthorpe United on Boxing Day.
The on-loan striker, who was substituted after a below-par performance in the previous week’s defeat at Plymouth, believed he was having another shocker before latching on to a 95th-minute through-ball by Andy Procter.
Nardiello did not need a second invitation, slotting home the equaliser through Iron keeper Sam Slocombe’s legs to cap a fantastic comeback for the Shakers.
“I was praying for a chance because I had played that badly, but luckily I got the ball, got it in the back of the net and it saved a point for us,” he said.
“Luckily the gaffer kept faith in me and kept me on the pitch. If I get a chance I back myself to take it and luckily I got that chance in the last minute, took a big touch and I just tried to hit the target.”
Nardiello was not the only one struggling to get going in the opening stages.
Both sides looked sluggish, but while Bury pressed and probed, it was the Iron who created the more clear-cut chances.
The first came off the boot of winger Terry Hawkridge, who was allowed time to drift inside before seeing his left-footed shot tipped on to the post by Shakers stopper Brian Jensen.
At the other end, Iron left-back Eddie Nolan was on hand to deny Bury, flicking a low Nardiello cross behind with Chris Sedgwick waiting to pounce at the back post.
Sedgwick was guilty of fluffing his lines when a Mayor cross did fall into his path, getting underneath his shot.
And the visitors punished his profligacy, catching Bury on the counter attack in the 38th-minute as Sam Winnall dispatched a low Hawkridge centre from six yards.
The Iron doubled their advantage in almost identical fashion in the 66th minute. This time Dave Syers provided the low cross from Bury’s right flank, but Winnall, who had only moments earlier been booked for diving in the box, was aghast after referee Geoff Eltringham judged his overzealous celebrations worthy of a second yellow.
The red card gave Bury belief and Sedgwick pulled one back eight minutes later, driving the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner after Slocombe palmed substitute Ashley Grimes’s curling effort into his path.
Nardiello’s late, late show made the comeback complete, although the Rotherham striker, who revealed after the match he was in talks with Bury about turning his loan into a permanent move, admitted they would need to perform for 90 minutes in future.
“We just sort of stepped up another gear (after they scored their second), but we need to play like that from the beginning of the game.
“We have started to show signs, though, of what we can do so it is up to the players on the pitch to do it and this is something to build on.”
BURY: Jensen 6; Roberts 7 (Grimes 7 70), Cameron 6, Edjenguele 5 (Hinds 6 46), Howell 6; Sedgwick 7, Procter 6, Miller 7, Mayor 7; Harrad 6 (Forrester 61), Nardiello 6.Not used: Holden, Harrison, Charles-Cook, Walker.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Slocombe; Ribiero, Mirfin, Canavan, Nolan; Hawkridge (Adelakun 65), McAllister (Boyce 72), Syers, Williams; Burton (Godden 84), Winnall. Not used: Lwelumo, Esajas, Severn, Waterfall.
Goals: Bury 2 (Sedgwick 74, Nardiello 90+5) Scunthorpe United 2 (Winnall 38 & 66) Yellow cards: Scunthorpe United – Winnall 62.
Red Cards: Scunthorpe United – Winnall 68. Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham).
Attendance: 3,277 (477 visiting).
Star man: Gareth Roberts – Barely put a foot wrong despite playing in an unfamiliar role on the right of defence and figuring in his first senior outing since late September. I doubt many Bury fans were too unhappy when the club’s former captain was dropped following a poor performance at Dagenham and Redbridge. But after being recalled by David Flitcroft as a stop-gap replacement for the injured Shaun Beeley, the experienced left-back put in a dogged, determined display before being substituted late in the game with cramp.
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