ANDY BUTLER made an instant impression as Town used 20 players in their opening pre-season friendly.
The signing from Scunthorpe looked immensely solid with headers, blocks and tackles as Stan Ternent’s new-look side produced what you might expect at stage one – a full spectrum of form.
Playing in a three-man back line alongside skipper Chris Lucketti and Nathan Clarke, Butler looked strong and secure and, indeed, he had left the field by the time Phil Marsh put Bury into the lead on 71 minutes.
Town’s equaliser, eight minutes from time, came from an equally good move prompted by Tom Clarke (who operated in midfield), and after Phil Jevons had flicked the ball through, first-year pro Danny Codman came up with a terrifically cool finish.
It was his first goal at senior level and belied the fact he’s come through the Academy and Reserves as a defender of strong-tackling promise.
Any of Town’s frontmen would have been proud of the strike and it was encouraging to see Danny Cadamarteri looking bright and hungry in his 75-minute run-out, while Keigan Parker and Luke Beckett were given just the first 45.
Lucketti and midfielder Michael Collins were the only Town players to play the full 90, and while the constant shift in personnel didn’t help in terms of fluency, at least the manager got a good look at most of those on his books.
The travelling fans – around 600 made the short trip to Gigg Lane – were disappointed not to see midfield signing Jim Goodwin (thigh) and trialist Tony Grant (hamstring), but Ternent wisely felt it wasn’t worth risking them.
It was much the same for Jon Worthington (hamstring), even though he took part in the pre-match warm-up, while Andy Booth (back injection) may well get a run in tomorrow’s trip to AFC Emley (7.00).
Bury – featuring ex-Town men Efe Sodje, Danny Racchi, Steve Haslam (trial) and Paul Scott, plus former Emley star Glynn Hurst – probably had the better of the chances overall but Matt Glennon made a fine stop from Andy Bishop on 19 minutes and Paul Gerrard (who took over in the second) excelled to keep out Hurst on 54 and 55 and then denied Marsh in a one-on-one six minutes later.
Frustration was etched all over his face when Bury scored, however, because he knew he had Scott’s excellent cross from the right covered. Unfortunately, he collided with players as he was grabbing the ball and it fell nicely for Marsh to volley home from 10 yards.
Sodje twice came to the rescue for Bury in the first half, hooking away a Cadamarteri cross from near the line and then repeating the act to keep out Nathan Clarke’s header after a Robbie Williams corner had been spilled by ex-Hereford keeper Wayne Brown.
Brown made amends, however, when blocking smartly from Malvin Kamara’s drive on the hour, after Joe Skarz had driven the ball in nicely from the left.
Shane Killock also caught the eye at left-back in the last half hour, while the most encouraging factor of all was that Town came through without any additional injury worries and looked strong towards the end.
Bury – Brown, Scott (Haslam 72), Buchanan (Dorney 72), Futcher, Baker, Hurst (Marsh 59), Bishop, Barry-Murphy (Dawson 59), Jones (Tierney 72), Racchi (Anane 65), Sodje (Cresswell 59).
Town – Glennon (Gerrard HT), Holdsworth (Killock 62), Williams (Skarz HT), N Clarke (Mirfin HT), Butler (Codman 67), Lucketti, Parker (Jevons HT), Berrett (T Clarke 52), Beckett (Kamara HT), Collins, Cadamarteri (Broadbent 75). Sub not used: Worthington.
Referee – Jon Moss.