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Blackwell demands more from improving Shakers
THE Shakers continued to claw their way towards League One safety with their fourth win in five games which says much for Kevin Blackwell’s new Gigg Lane regime.
Dominic Poleon got the final touch to steer Zac Thompson’s 19th-minute shot past Pompey goalkeeper Mikkel Anderson in a stop-start first half.
And Poleon was in the thick of the action again, drawing the foul from Carl Dickinson to enable skipper Steven Schumacher to double Bury’s advantage from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the restart.
It was an outstanding second-half performance from Blackwell’s men, who are now just two points away from climbing out of the relegation zone, but the Bury manager admitted dishing out some harsh words at the interval after being far from happy with their first-half showing.
“I was disappointed because I believe that we’ve improved that much, I want to see that improvement,” he said.
“I thought we were comfortable at 1-0, but I knew Portsmouth had enough quality in their team that they could hurt us if we didn’t finish them off.
“But we were different class in the second half. We created chance after chance. Our defensive shape was excellent.
“The lads are buying in to what I’ve asked them to do. And the energy levels in the second half were fantastic, considering they played with 10 men last week and we also had a game on Tuesday night. I’ve got nothing but praise for them.”
The Shakers gave their boss the response he was looking for straight from the second-half kick off and they could have doubled their advantage within 13 seconds of the restart when Troy Hewitt raced clear of the visiting defence to go one-on-one with Anderson, who pulled off a fine save.
But the Bury faithful did not have to wait long for a deserved second goal, thanks to excellent work by Poleon down the right flank, inducing a foolish tackle inside the penalty area from left-back Dickinson.
At first it seemed South Yorkshire referee Craig Pawson would not give the spot kick, but, after what seemed an eternity, he pointed to the spot when he saw his assistant flagging for the foul.
Seconds later, Schumacher buried the penalty to make it 2-0 and Bury continued to dominate their more illustrious opponents for the remainder of the half.
Managerless Portsmouth, who have Guy Wittingham in temporary charge following the departure of Michael Appleton to Blackpool, might have had more joy if Izale McLeod had hit the target with two gilt-edged chances in the opening period.
He shot high of Trevor Carson’s goal after successfully turning Matt Doherty on the edge of the box on nine minutes and produced a bad miss on 26 minutes after the Shakers defence was caught napping.
Ashley Harris’s goal-bound shot on the half hour was definitely going in, however, but the excellent Adam Lockwood produced a goal-saving block to preserve the Bury lead.
You’ve got to take your hat off to the 806 Pompey fans. They never stopped singing throughout the whole time their team were under the cosh.