A STERN half-time team talk from head coach Chris Brass inspired Bury to come from behind to earn a point at Port Vale last Friday night.

The Shakers were poor in the first period and fell behind through Tyler Walker’s debut strike.

Hallam Hope picked up on a defensive mistake before teeing up James Vaughan to equalise six minutes before the break.

But on the stroke of half-time on-loan defender Cameron Burgess bundled Walker over in the penalty area and Ryan Taylor duly scored from the spot – leaving Brass raging.

“I thought it was an ugly first half but some games are,” Brass said.

“It was probably the first time that at half-time I have lost my rag a little bit with them.

“We didn’t get it down and try to play in the right areas at the right times.

“There were some choice words but we got the reaction we wanted.

“I’m not sure on the penalty. We will have a look back at it but credit to Cameron, he kept at it and was resolute and that’s the sign of a good defender, especially when they’re on a yellow card.”

The team talk worked wonders and Bury came out reinvigorated, showing more hunger and desire.

Brass also switched to a 4-3-3 formation and brought Kelvin Etuhu on to shield the back four in place of right-back Reece Brown, meaning Tom Soares shifted to full-back.

This allowed Jacob Mellis and Scott Burgess more attacking freedom and it was the former’s bursting run that provided Vaughan with the equaliser – his 16th goal of the season.

In-form Vaughan, who netted four times against Peterborough in the previous match, drew praise once again from his boss after the game.

But Brass was also keen to highlight the work-rate of forward Hope, who was played out of position on the right wing.

“Vaughany appreciates the chances that he’s getting,” Brass said. “I think someone who, in recent weeks, has not got the credit he deserves is Hallam Hope.

“I thought he was fantastic against Peterborough and put in another great shift.

“We had to engage and also I needed the full-backs to get higher and they did that. There was a good spell and Scott (Burgess) got in those areas where he could punish them.

“Kelvin came on and we took Reece off as he was feeling a little niggle in his knee, it’s nothing too serious though.

“Greg (Leigh) did well and started making more runs down the left and Tom (Soares) did a better job keeping Jerome Thomas quiet.”

New signing Jermaine Pennant did not feature as the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger had not yet received a work permit.

However, the 34-year-old did join the unused substitutes in some fitness training on the Vale Park turf after the game.

Speaking for the first time since capturing the 2007 Champions League finalist’s signature, Brass said: “His contract (with Singaporean side Tampines Rovers) finished on December 16 so he has been with us for a while.

“His fitness is impressive. He is an elite athlete who is still only 34 and still has an awful lot to offer.

“What’s pleasing is that it’s been kept under the radar. He has been in the building a few weeks and was at the Peterborough game.

“Jermaine understands where he is at in his career now, he had a fantastic one and there is still a lot to come.

“We have a lot of good youngsters in the club and he is somebody who has experience from the very top.

“That is where these players are going, and he will help them.

“It’s a good fit for us right now and I’m sure he’ll be a big asset for us on and off the field.”

Brass gave his side the weekend off before training resumed on Monday, when Zeli Ismail and Danny Mayor stepped up their return from injuries.

“I have definitely got a lot of numbers back on Monday,” he said.

“We will go again with a strong squad.

“If you have got competition for places then you have to play well otherwise somebody is going to take that shirt off your back.

“What we had four or five weeks ago was people just playing with no challenge. It didn’t matter what form they were in, whether good, bad or indifferent, they were playing – I’m not a believer in that.”

Match ratings

Bury (4-2-2-2): Lainton 6; Brown 5 (Etuhu 45, 7), Kay 6, C Burgess 5, Leigh 6; Mellis 7, Soares 7; S Burgess 7 (Mayor 70, 6), Hope 7; Pope 7 (George Miller 80, 6), Vaughan 8.

Not used: Williams, Bedeau, Styles, Mackreth.

Port Vale (4-4-2): Boot; Purkiss, Smith, Streete, Knops; Guy, Grant, Taylor, Thomas (Eagles 70); Hooper (Forrester 70), Walker (Cicilia 90).

Not used: Pickering, Kelly, Amoros, De Freitas.

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).