Declan Daniels scored the winning goal on his debut as Bury saw out a nail biting 2-1 win away at Longridge Town, writes James Beedie.

More than two weeks have passed since the Shakers last had a match, delaying the first appearance of Dave McNabb’s latest signing. Daniels arrives at Bury with a stellar reputation. Scoring 33 goals in just 27 matches for fellow North West Counties side Irlam makes the Liverpudlian one of the most prolific strikers in non league football this season. With established forwards Benito Lowe and Andy Briggs still sidelined with injuries Daniels went straight into the starting eleven while fellow new signing Ethan Kachosa, formerly of Leeds United and Sunderland, was handed a place on the bench.

On a bitterly cold Lancashire night Daniels had a chance to make an immediate impact at his new club. A long cross by Sam Burns found Andy Scarisbrick who squared the ball into the path of the oncoming Declan Daniels but Bury’s new man from only a couple of yards out from goal missed the connection and the chance was gone.

Daniels wasn’t alone in rueing missed opportunities. Longridge, leaning on the pace and tenacity of Morgan Homson-Smith, were able to carve out a number of chances but found Bury goalkeeper Harry Wright in fine form. Paul Turner twice forced the Shakers stopper into acrobatic saves in the opening period of the match while Josh Winder could only direct an easy free header harmlessly off target. Homson-Smith charging through the middle of the pitch evaded several of Bury’s defenders before laying the ball off to full back Mitchell Marshall. The shot was far from matching the quality that went into its creation as Marshall’s attempt sailed well over Wright’s crossbar.

Gradually Bury began to see more of the ball and the home side’s efforts on goal began to dry up but the Shakers could not find a way past Kier Barry in the Longridge goal. From a corner Connor Comber had an initial shot blocked but a second attempt by Charlie Doyle took a wicked deflection off Longridge defender Calen Gallagher that nearly beat Barry, the Longridge keeper would be called upon again to make a save from a Sam Burns shot destined for the bottom corner.

As the halftime break approached Bury were handed a lifeline. A Gaz Peet cross was handled in the box by Gallagher and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Sam Burns who for the second away match in a row scored from the penalty spot sending Barry the wrong way.

Bury may have felt fortunate to edge an even first half but they could have easily extended their lead straight after the restart. Declan Daniels played in well by Burns found himself one on one with Barry as the Longridge keeper came charging out of his net. Bury’s new man tried to lift the ball over the goalkeeper but Barry got enough on it to steer the ball wide of goal. From the resulting corner Bury captain Tom Moore fired a shot just wide of the post as two strong chances were not capitalised upon.

Bury were made to pay for their slack finishing soon afterwards. Homson-Smith again the creator found a way in behind the Bury defence, he found Ryan McLean on the overlap who crossed to Turner who finished well from close range.

Bury heads did not drop however and the visitors were soon back in front. Longridge failed to sufficiently clear their lines from a Bury free kick and a loose ball fell to full back Jordan Butterworth. His cross found Declan Daniels who powered a beautiful looping header over Barry and into the far corner of the net to give himself a goal scoring debut at the third time of asking.

The travelling Bury support may have hoped this second goal still early into the second half would inspire the team to find further goals and put the match beyond the hosts however Daniels goal proved to be the last notable chance for the Shakers. Soon after the goal Homson-Smith attempting a shot of his own fired a rasping effort from long distance that only just cleared the crossbar while Paul Turner had the chance to score his second when a miskick by Wright fell to Longridge’s number 9. Wright made amends saving well and the ball was cleared. However in the resulting melee that lead to a Longridge free kick Gaz Peet said something to the referee that resulted in his sin binning.

With Bury reduced to ten men the side took a defensive footing which it never really emerged from for the rest of the match. A ten man Bury had conceded an equaliser to Pilkington in their last match but managed to see out the ten minute disadvantage without much incident.

Longridge continued to push on for an equaliser while Bury fought to keep the ball away from their half long enough to see the match out. Mitchell Marshall had a free header from point blank range turned away by the excellent Wright who had as much to do with Bury’s win as the goalscorer up front.

The final whistle blew delivering another three points for Bury, enough for them to return to the top of the table, albeit having played several games more than the nearest challenger.