Bury 3 Accrington Stanley 0
10:26am Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
IT’S often said that it never rains but it pours and that must have been the feeling James Beattie had after he and his side made their way home from Gigg Lane.
In sodden conditions the Reds were beaten 3-0, had Danny Webber sent off and lost key defender Nicky Hunt to what looked a serious injury, surely leaving Beattie to wonder if he’d walked under a ladder or broken a mirror in the build-up to the game.
And it might have been so different.
A Stanley side showing two changes from the one that drew with Portsmouth could and perhaps should have been in front inside 10 minutes.
After surviving an early scare when Jordan Sinnott’s cross came back off the frame of the goal, the Reds went up the other end and were the width of a post from the lead.
Laurence Wilson’s left-wing cross was deflected towards Kal Naismith at the far post and though the Scot couldn’t convert, the ball broke to Will Hatfield who finished low and emphatically against the upright with goalkeeper Rob Lainton beaten.
The Shakers custodian then made a mess of a punch from a Hunt cross and from the resulting corner Shaun Beeley had to head the ball out from beneath his own crossbar.
But early Stanley optimism was soon washed away by their less than watertight defending.
With 27 minutes gone the home side played a quick free-kick to Sinnott and he dinked the ball over the slumbering defence for Anton Forrester to slot the ball confidently and unopposed past Ian Dunbavin and put Kevin Blackwell’s team in front.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Beattie soon saw his side reduced to 10 men when Danny Webber produced a striker’s challenge on Beeley that prompted referee Darren Bond to flourish the red card.
Now frustration levels were rising still further and 10 minutes after the opening goal Stanley were in danger of overload when Bury netted a second.
When Craig Jones crossed from the right it seemed Stanley would clear but Will Hatfield was dispossessed inside the box by Sinnott who made no mistake in beating Dunbavin to make it 2-0.
There was still time for insult to be added to injury, with Richard Hinds not penalised for a two-footed challenge on Wilson before Gareth Roberts clearly handled Hunt’s cross inside the box, but Mr Bond waved away Stanley’s appeals.
After the game Beattie admitted he’d had a few choice words with his players at half-time and whatever he said had an immediate imp-act as the 10 men began to take the game to the lethargic hosts.
Sub Shay McCartan found Rob Atkinson but a defender turned the ball behind before Naismith’s long-range drive was spilled and then collected by Lainton.
Atkinson was then inches from converting Hatfield’s cross but the momentum drained from the game when Hunt crumpled in a heap in his right-back position after an innocuous challenge with Forrester.
The former Bolton man was clearly in trouble and required six minutes of treatment on the field before being stretchered off with his right knee the area of concern.
Another Atkinson header flew wide once play restarted but in the 87th minute, on the counter and against the run of play, Bury added a third when Jones found substiute Marlon Jackson in the box and he took a touch and drove the ball low into the back of the net.
By then the heavens had well and truly opened and it seemed an appropriate metaphor for Stanley’s fortunes on a day they would probably choose to forget in the context of the League Two campaign.
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