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VERDICT: Bury 3 Accrington Stanley 0
APPREHENSION led to a nervy yet ultimately fruitful display against the committed 10 men of Lancashire rivals Accrington Stanley.
Manager Kevin Blackwell was happy to concede Bury’s best result of the season so far was born out of their worst performance as they opened their League Two account at the third time of asking.
But he put that down to anxiety – created by the winless streak and new partnerships down the spine of the team.
“The players all felt they deserved the results in the first couple of games and it hadn’t come and there was a little bit of apprehension about their play as a result,” he said.
“It was also the first time (strikers) Anton Forrester and Ashley Grimes had played together, the first time (central midfielders) Andy Procter and Jordan Sinnott had played together and the first time (centre-backs) Richard Hinds and Andy Lockwood had played together – straight through the middle of the pitch.
“So obviously there was a little bit of apprehension there, but I’m really pleased with the attitude and application.
“That result had been coming, and it was important to get the win – we knew that. But we look to the next game with more confidence knowing we were 55 per cent of where I wanted them to be.”
In a match of firsts, Bury secured their opening victory with debut goals from three summer signings.
First-half strikes from loanees Forrester and Sinnott, of Blackburn and Huddersfield, respectively – both making their first starts for Bury – laid the foundation before former Bristol City striker Marlon Jackson finished it off with a late, breakaway goal.
The impressive Sinnott, who replaced Euan Holden in the starting line-up, floated a cross on to the Stanley bar in the opening minute.
But the visitors settled the quicker and should have opened the scoring when Will Hatfield struck a post with a shot from around penalty spot that he should have buried.
The Shakers eventually went ahead against the run of play in the 28th-minute when Forrester provided the clinical finishing touch to a cleverly-worked free kick.
Stanley’s back-line were guilty of ball-watching as Craig Jones found the late run of Sinnott with a short pass, who dinked a ball to the back post where Forrester was on hand to slide it home.
That triggered a nightmare, 10-minute passage of play for Stanley.
Striker Danny Webber was rightly shown a straight red card for a late lunge on Bury right-back Shaun Beeley before James Beattie’s side fell further behind.
Sinnott capped a fantastic opening half with a really composed finish – shaping to shoot with his right in a crowded penalty area before firing home with his left.
Steady rain provided difficult conditions after the break for both players and referee Darren Bond, who dished out a flurry of yellow cards as the sliding tackles flew in.
But no foul play led to a serious knee injury to former Bolton Wanderers full-back Nicky Hunt, who planted his right boot into the turf before twisting awkwardly as he collided with Forrester.
That took some of the fire out of the encounter, and the match was already over as a contest when Jackson calmly finished off Bury’s third with three minutes to play following a swift counter attack.
It may not have been a mature display, but Blackwell is clearly enthused by the way his summer signings are beginning to gel.
Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Danny Mayor amanaged 45 minutes, replacing the injured Tom Soares at half time after recovering from a stomach bug that has also struck down Aiden Chippendale.
And Lockwood showed his class to slot in alongside Hinds in his first outing of the campaign.
“The great thing about this time at the moment is that everything is a first, isn’t it?” said the Bury boss.
“The first time they’ve played together, the first time they have kept a clean sheet, first-time goals - it’s unbelievable.”
Bury: Lainton 6; Beeley 7, Hinds 7, Lockwood 7, Roberts 7; Jones 6, Procter 5, Sinnott 8, Soares 6 (Mayor 6 45); Grimes 6 (Harrad 71), Forrester 8 (Jackson 81). Subs: Carson, Holden, Rooney, Reindorf.
Accrington: Dunbavin; Hunt (Winnard 65), Atkinson, Aldred, Liddle (McCartan 45); Naismith, Murphy, Joyce, Wilson; Hatfield (Richardson 71), Wilson. Subs: Miller, Clark, Mingoia, Gray.
Goals: Bury 3 (Forrester 28, Sinnott 37, Jackson 87) Accrington Stanley 0. Yellow cards: Bury – Jones 20, Forrester 54. Accrington Stanley – Joyce 58, Murphy 90+5.
Red cards: Accrington Stanley – Webber 33.
Attendance: 3,080 (344 visiting).
Star man: Jordan Sinnott – The Huddersfield Town teenager hit the bar with a cross-shot in the opening minute and was at the heart of everything good about Bury in the first half. His quick-thinking to ghost forward from the half-way line to receive a quick free kick from Craig Jones for the opening goal showed intelligence, while his resulting pass was proof of his skill and eye for a pass. Add to that a calm finish for Bury’s second goal and Kevin Blackwell could well have unearthed one of the diamonds he talks about. A very promising home debut, even if he did tire in the second half.
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