Report: Bury 0-2 Bolton
Wanderers secured the derby bragging rights with a comfortable victory over neighbours Bury at Gigg Lane on Monday night.
Phil Parkinson’s side took the lead in the 13th minute of the clash with Zach Clough winning a penalty and converting it himself – a feat which he repeated ten minutes into the second half to double the Trotters’ advantage and his own tally for the evening.
There were even chances for the Whites to extend their lead inside the closing stages, but it was irrelevant at the final whistle as they made it five wins and as many clean sheets on the spin.
Phil Parkinson made just the one change to the side who beat Millwall last time out with Derik Osede replacing the injured Tom Thorpe.
Neil Danns and Niall Maher meanwhile lined up against their former employers.
The game began in combative fashion, with both sides visibly up for the fight from the off.
And it was Bolton who looked the more likely inside the opening stages, with the Shakers under pressure from the outset as the Whites looked to make their mark on the clash.
Bury had struggled to even get out of their own half inside the first ten minutes and did enjoy a half chance from a corner, but right from the counter attack Bolton earned themselves the perfect opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot.
Clough powered downfield, with the academy graduate being upended in the area by Maher to win his side a spot-kick which he duly dispatched.
Deserved given their early exploits, it was almost two shortly after as Clough sprung free of the Bury defence, but his eventual shot was deflected over the crossbar by his former academy teammate Maher.
The tempo of the game became a little tepid thereafter, although the Shakers did find a little more space with Danns firing a free-kick from 20 yards into the Bolton wall with Greg Leigh’s rebound effort high and wide just after the half hour mark.
With the clock ticking down to the break however, Mark Beevers had to be on his guard to sneak the ball away from Maher with the former Bolton man in on goal and only the keeper to beat.
As the half time whistle drew ever near, the Shakers threw men forward but Bolton’s defence stood firm to make sure the lead was maintained at the end of the first 45.
With no changes at the break, proceedings restarted and Sammy Ameobi almost doubled Bolton’s advantage immediately, only to see Ben Williams palm away his thunderous effort from 20 yards.
The hosts however then enjoyed a period of pressure, with Bolton having to withstand a wave of attacks down the left flank which they soaked up with ease.
And as before, Wanderers hit the Shakers on the counter attack with Clough again winning a spot-kick with 55 minutes on the clock.
This time in front of the travelling supporters, the little man showed all the composure in the world to again slot the ball past Williams from 12 yards to send the Bolton fans into raptures.
Wanderers, visibly not keen to settle on just two, pushed forward in a bid to extend their lead even further with Ameobi flashing an effort just wide of the upright on the hour mark.
The Shakers just couldn’t get a foothold in proceedings though, while Clough almost had a hat-trick in the 72nd minute only for the Bury keeper to push his shot round the post.
It wasn’t to be the dream conclusion for the academy graduate either as he was replaced by James Henry with 13 minutes remaining.
Jamie Proctor meanwhile, another substitute, spurned a glorious chance to put the game to bed moments later after collecting Henry’s cut-back, only to see his shot trickle agonisingly wide of the goalmouth.
The remainder of the game meanwhile passed without much action of note, with Wanderers happy to keep proceedings on the down-low as they ran out comfortable winners at the final whistle.