BURY 0-1 GILLINGHAM: MATCH REPORT
Luke Norris' 27th minute strike was enough to defeat Bury on Monday, on a rainy day in the north west.
The striker volleyed home from six yards for his second goal in as many games after a period of pressure from the away side.
The result means that Gillingham stay in fourth position, but move to within two points of third placed Walsall.
Justin Edinburgh stuck with the same attacking 3-5-2 formation that has proved to be effective over the past couple of games.
The manager made two changes in the starting XI as Ryan Jackson replaced Jermaine McGlashan and Adam El-Abd returned in place of Jake Hessenthaler, allowing Aaron Morris to play in his favoured position in the middle of the park.
There was also a place on the bench for Cody McDonald, who hasn’t featured since the 3-0 victory over Millwall on December 19th, much to the delight of the Gills fans.
Josh Wright continued his run captaining the side and put in another commanding performance, cutting out balls and breaking up play throughout the 90 minutes.
The Gills looked to attack from the off and won corner after corner in the opening stages. The balls into the box, however, failed to find the oncoming Gills players to work Chris Neal in the Bury goal.
After 27 minutes the Gills were In front. Wright’s volley from 25-yards ricocheted off a defender and landed at the feet of NORRIS, who coolly converted from inside the box right in front of the travelling away fans.
As the half went on the sun came out and the rain that soaked the ground started to disappear, but the pitch was beginning to show signs of deterioration.
The main threat from the home side was coming from down the right and they had a good chance to equalise that went begging, just before half time.
Brennan Dickenson was exposed after bombing forward to attack and Bury’s right-back, Joe Riley, whipped in a dangerous ball. Ryan Lowe met the cross but his effort failed to hit the target and work Nelson.
The Gills had an opportunity to double their advantage just minutes after the restart.
Dominic Samuel’s shot was saved by Neal and the ball came out to goal scorer Norris, who laid it back to Jackson. The right-back’s effort looked to be curling in to the to right-hand corner, however Neal dived to his left to make his second save in about 30 seconds.
Just five minutes later and Edinburgh’s men were on the attack once again. Samuel failed to time his run and the linesman’s flag went up for offside, however the referee allowed play to go on, which confused the Bury defence.
Dickenson collected the ball and played it back to Samuel, who was now on side, but his curling shot just swerved over the bar.
The Shakers had their first shot on target on 73 minutes, but Nelson was equal to substitute Danny Rose’s shot down to his right. The Gills number one took a knock from the Bury player, whose knee caught his face trying to latch on to the ball.
As the game entered the final stages the Gills sat back and invited pressure from the home team.
El Abd impressed all game on his return to Gigg Lane. The centre-back won the majority of his aerial battles and showed calmness and composure when on the ball.
The closest the hosts came to scoring came late on when Chris Hussey’s free-kick looped over Nelson, but was cleared off the line by an alert Dickenson.
The Gills soaked up late pressure and held on through eight minutes of added time to complete the double over the Shakers.
Bury: Neal, Riley, Hussey, Clarke, Mayor (Gardner, 29), Lowe, O’Sullivan, Soares, Pugh (Brown, 82), Bolger, Delfouneso (Rose, 59)
Unused Subs: Ruddy, Sedgwick, Burgess
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Garmston, 71), Ehmer (Hessenthaler, 90), El-Abd, Samuel, Morris, Crofts, Norris (Donnelly, 75), Dickenson, Wright, Oshilaja
Unused Subs: Morris, McDonald, McGlashan, Osadebe
Attendance: 2,907 (291 away)
Referee: Oliver Langford