SHAKERS 1, OXFORD UNITED 1: Two goals inside three second half minutes earned each of these relegation-threatened sides a valuable point, but the visitors will have been the happier with their night's reward.

Billed as a game between the basement division's joint lowest goalscorers, the clever money was on it not being one for the purists, and so it proved.

Neither side deserved all three points from a lacklustre affair. In recent weeks, it was only a lack of a cutting edge that denied the Shakers an extra few points than they picked up but last night they showed worrying symptoms of the relegation jitters.

As the season enters its final straight the last thing Chris Casper needs now is for his squad to start feeling the strain.

The clearest cut chance of a turgid first half fell to Oxford in the 25th minute, when striker Tim Sills headed a free-kick from Andy Burgess over the bar.

The second half began much as the first ended, with little in the way of contructive play, and neither side seemingly capable of breaking the other down.

However, the Shakers were thrown a lifeline in the 67th minute when Marrison's run into the box was halted by the outstretched leg of Chris Willmott and referee Scott Mathieson pointed to the spot.

Tom Kennedy, playing his first game in weeks, stepped up and calmly sent Billy Turley the wrong way for his fourth goal of the season.

It says a lot about the goalscoring problems at Gigg when you realise that the goal saw Kennedy join Dwayne Mattis as the highest goalscoring player at the club.

What should have been a platform for a morale-boosting victory was ripped from under Casper's men three minutes later when Oxford equalised.

A long ball into the box was headed on by Sills into the path of Burgess at the near post. He had time to control the ball before turning smartly and beating Schmeichel with a powerful drive. It was a sloppy goal to concede.

Following that double whammy it was business as usual with neither side fashioning a clear opening.

"It was always going to be one of those nights," said Casper, after his side were booed off at the final whistle. "They defended really deep and made it difficult for us and it was a scrappy game.

BURY: Schmeichel, Kennedy, Fitzgerald, Challinor, Flitcroft, Youngs, Barry-Murphy, Scott, Daly (Tipton 86), Buchanan (Newby 68), Marrison. Subs not used: Woodthorpe, Brass and Speight.


REFEREE: Mr S. Mathieson (Cheshire)