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Bury match report
28 February 2015 18:01 Post ID: #71131
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Argyle drop out of the League Two play-off zone after losing 2-0 at Home Park against a strong and organised Bury side.

Following the brilliant 3-1 win against Exeter last week it was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show.

Argyle fell apart against a very strong and organised Bury team disciplined in the school of black arts, helped by a referee who favoured the away team.

We played the ball too long to big striker Ryan Brunt who struggled against the Bury centre-backs and the match ended with defender Kelvin Mellor as our centre-forward, I wonder what Brunt and Tyler Harvey think about that?

Lee Cox came in for the suspended Olly Lee and Brunt replaced the injured Reuben Reid who looks to be out for at least a week.
This meant we had two sitting midfielders in a 3-4-1-2 formation, a slight tinker to what has brought us four consecutive winning games.

Bury started the stronger and should have scored when Dan Nardiello missed a cross with only Luke McCormick to beat.
We struggled to cope with the physical side of the game and Bury were winning all the battles, we were outnumbered in midfield with Etuhu excellent for Bury.

As the half wore on we came into the game more and Bobby Reid set up the unmarked Drew Talbot but his sidefoot shot was more of a pass back and was easily saved.

We kept hitting long balls to Brunt who was easily marked by the big Bury centre-backs, the tactic was just not working.

For the second half we played with more aggression and hassled and closed down the Bury players, Brunt was also stronger and we managed to play more in the Bury half than we did in the first half.
The two wing backs were now playing further forward and getting in behind the Bury defence.
Lewis Alessandra had a goal disallowed for offside but it seemed an Argyle goal would not be far away.

Just when we had a bit of momentum and pressure we left the back door open, Bury marched down the left side, Nicky Adams crossed and there was Nardiello to head in. Way too easy.

Sheridan made three changes, taking off Carl McHugh, Cox and Brunt and brought on Dom Blizzard, Jason Banton and Mellor and switched to a 4-4-2 formation. Surely Mellor would play as a winger? Nope, Mellor was now the Argyle centre-forward, although his first taste of the action was to get injured and go off for treatment.

The subs didn't have the desired affect and we lost our way.

Bury scored a second, again it was orchestrated down our left side and Danny Rose beat McCormick from a tight angle and it was game over.

Most of the players were off the pace, we allowed Bury to dictate the game and we always seem to struggle against a robust and physical team who use the black arts.

Whether the loss of Reuben Reid deflated the players, who knows but something wasn't right. We should have been a team full of confidence and yet we allowed Bury to bully us.

Talbot had at least two chances, one was a weak shot and the second he twisted and turned and failed to get a shot away, generally he didn't have a good game.
Peter Hartley looked out of sorts, perhaps his hip injury is still affecting him?

Holmes-Dennis was probably our best attacker in the second half but defensively both goals originated from his (and Hartley's) side of the pitch.

Cox and Anthony O'Connor didn't get to grips with the Bury midfielders during the first half, Bobby Reid was full of flicks and neat trciks but failed to regularly provide the final killer ball apart from the easy pass to Talbot in the first half.

Alessandra came alive during the second half, good quick feet, although most of his good work was done outside of the box.

Is Brunt a target man? Not on this evidence, he looks better with the ball at his feet rather than his head and yet we kept aiming for his head and the high balls were easily gobbled up by the Bury centre-backs.

Mellor as a striker? Really? Just when we thought manager John Sheridan had turned a corner he comes up with another bizarre decision. I can understand Sheridan wanting height up front so why not use Curtis Nelson who has had previous success as a striker. Besides, as a wing-back Mellor never ventures forward for corners, he's the last defender so his height isn't important at that time?
We needed width against Bury and Mellor would have been ideal as a winger late in the game today.

The ref Fred Graham, who was a late replacement for this game, never had full control, he missed a lot of handballs from the Bury players. Once they knew a soft ref was in charge the Bury team took advantage and pushed everything to the limit.

If we don't get to grips with playing against the robust teams like Bury and Stevenage we will not get promoted.
Credit to Bury, they had a game plan and stuck to it, big strong players in areas all over the pitch. They were strong from the first whistle to the last and once they scored the first goal everyone knew a draw was the best Argyle could expect.

After the celebration of four wins including a win against Exeter it was back down to earth today and all the previous concerns raise their head again.

McCormick 6, Nelson 6, McHugh 6, Hartley 5, Talbot 5, Holmes-Dennis 6, Cox 4, O'Connor 5, B Reid 5, Brunt 5, Alessandra 7, Banton 4, Mellor 4, Blizzard 5.
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