Ten man Stevenage fell to defeat at Gigg Lane on Saturday as Ryan Lowe’s Bury side saw off the challenge of Dino Maamria’s men...
In what was already a difficult game, a 40th minute red card for Kurtis Guthrie gave Stevenage an even greater mountain to climb as the home side used their man advantage to see out a comfortable victory.
After doing so well to restrict Bury for so long, the Shakers broke through in the 63rd minute via O’Shea before Mayor, O’Shea again and O’Connell sealed the deal in the second half with stunning strikes from outside the box.
The Manager named three changes to the side that lost to Plymouth in the FA Cup seven days ago. Campbell-Ryce, Henry and Ball in for Kennedy, Seddon and James-Wildin.
The pattern of the game was set from the opening exchanges. Bury controlling the play, keeping the ball and forcing Stevenage to defend deep.
The first big chance of the game came from Moore on 19 minutes, who skipped past the Boro defence to go one-on-one with Dieng, but the loan ranger was in top form, spreading himself big to deny the Bury man.
Next to come close was Callum Styles, but defensive pressure from the back-tracking Ball saw the attacker miscue his shot, just wide of the far post.
On the half hour mark a Nicky Maynard header flew straight at Dieng just as Stevenage were beginning to grow into the game.
Big chances from Ball and Wilkinson followed - Ball with a left-footed snap shot that went right into the arms of Murphy, before Wilkinson headed narrowly wide following Byrom’s corner.
At this stage of the game the temperature both on the pitch and in the stands was reaching boiling point, as Cuthbert felled Moore with the attacker breaking towards goal before Henry received a yellow card for a similar challenge on the impressive Mayor.
Unfortunately it reached a peak on the 40th minute when Guthrie went flying in on Thompson off the ball, a straight red card for the striker after vocal appeals from the Bury supporters and players.
Stevenage remained under the cosh until half-time but both sides went into the break without a goal to their name.
The second half started in much the same vein as the Shakers piled the pressure on Dieng’s goal. Despite the circumstances, Stevenage were coping well with a well-disciplined shape, frustrating the home side for large periods.
With 30 minutes left, Bury fans were jumping in celebration as a deflected Maynard strike bounced into the Stevenage net. The cheers were short-lived however as the assistant rose his flag, but a few moments later, Bury made it count.
Jay O’Shea the first to strike with a long range effort to make it 1-0. A well hit shot that flew past a line of Stevenage bodies and into the net.
Boro almost responded immediately. Seddon forcing Murphy to push his shot away from creeping into the far corner.
What seemed like mission impossible after Guthrie’s sending off was confirmed before 70 minutes were up on the clock. Mayor next to smash in from distance following a goal-line clearance from Henry.
Just like after the previous goal was conceded, Stevenage almost hit back right away. This time it was James Ferry bursting into the box to latch onto Seddon’s cross which flew over the bar and into the travelling supporters.
Bury put the gloss on the score-line as time dwindled down, O’Shea and then O’Connell with unstoppable hits to make for a thoroughly miserable journey home back to Stevenage.