Bury 1 (Jones 56) Oxford Utd 1 (Ruffels 58) + Video

Oxford United's Deane Smalley leaps high for a header at Bury

Oxford United's Deane Smalley leaps high for a header at Bury

First published in U's News
Last updated
Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

OXFORD United's remarkable unbeaten away run in Sky Bet League Two was extended to 13 games as they earned a hard-fought point at Bury.

Josh Ruffels headed a first goal for the club just two minutes after Craig Jones had put the hosts in front.

Bury's fluid display belied their lowly league position and United had to work extremely hard to keep parity, showing all the grit and determination which have been key elements in the away run.

A win would have taken Mickey Lewis' side second in the table, but on the balance of play they were the happier of the two sides at the final whistle.

Callum O'Dowda was handed a first league start, replacing the injured Sean Rigg in the only change to the U's side which started Saturday's 2-1 win against AFC Wimbledon.

The 18-year-old showed no signs of nerves early on, taking care of possession and looking bright on the left flank.

United were only able to use the young winger sporadically in the first half hour, though, as they prioritised containing their hosts.

Bury began the evening just two points above the relegation zone, but they looked anything but a struggling side from the outset.

David Flitcroft's confident side were determined to play the ball out from the back, even on a sticky playing surface.

It was a risky tactic, but they largely got away with it and kept the ball well, attacking with pace down the flanks.

Top scorer Anton Forrester had the best chance of the first half on ten minutes, rising to meet a cross from the right. He made a good connection, but his header thumped into the turf, giving Ryan Clarke an opportunity to scramble to his right and save.

United also looked happy to play when they got the ball.

On 18 minutes Deane Smalley bustled into the box and pulled the ball back for Danny Rose, who shot wide under pressure.

But the balance of play was with the Shakers, with Forrester a real handful up front. The striker spun Tom Newey midway through the half, before smashing a shot into the fans behind the goal.

United worked hard to limit Bury's sights of goal and looked more threatening going forward as the half wore on.

Tom Newey forced a save from goalkeeper Brian Jensen and Nicky Wroe laid on a tricky volleyed chance for Smalley, who could only divert the ball back across goal.

After all their neat play in the first half, Bury almost caught United cold seconds after the break with a long ball from Jensen.

A flick-on almost fell for Grimes, but Clarke sprinted off his line to smother.

Bury's intentions were clear and Flitcroft quickly threw on the dangerous Danny Nardiello.

They were ahead 11 minutes into the second half, when Clarke spilled a cross and Jones was on hand to shoot into the empty net.

The goalkeeper complained he had been fouled, but less than two minutes later United were back on level terms.

Smalley won a corner, from which Rose found Ruffels to head past Jensen.

Lewis brought on Dave Kitson and David Connolly just after the hour mark, but it was Bury who looked more likely to score a second goal.

With 19 minutes left Clarke made a superb save to turn a deflected shot from Nardiello round the post.

The goalkeeper was also tested from range by Andrew Tutte, which he punched clear.

An injury to Jensen held the game up late on, leading to seven minutes of stoppage time.

It provided plenty of tense moments, but United held firm.

Oxford Utd (4-1-4-1): Clarke, Bevans, Hunt, Mullins, Newey, Wroe, Smalley, Rose, Ruffels, O'Dowda, Constable.

Subs used: Kitson (O'Dowda 64), Connolly (Constable 63).

Unused subs: Henly, Long, Lynn, Davies, Marsh.

Booked: Newey, Hunt.

Bury (3-4-1-2): Jensen, Mills, Veseli, McNulty, Jones, Miller, Tutte, Sedgwick, Grimes (Nardiello 50), Akpa Akpro (Platt 73), Forrester (Soares 80).

Unused subs: Hinds, Procter, Burke, Charles-Cook.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 2,303 (204 visitors).

Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).

Comments (14)

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10:26pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Roy Burton's shorts says...

Forget the league positions. This Bury team has several new and better players than the one we (only just) beat earlier this season. Lots of positives with Ruffels again showing he can cut it, Bevans again proving he’s there if we need him, O’Dowda getting a run out and – at last, we’ve suddenly found ways to score from corners! Interesting formation from Mickey, making the most of the limited personnel he had available. A great result.
With players like Williams, Potter, Rigg (the on-form version) Jake, Whing and later Meades to come back, we have a squad certainly capable of kicking on for a top 3 finish.
Plenty to look forward to.
Forget the league positions. This Bury team has several new and better players than the one we (only just) beat earlier this season. Lots of positives with Ruffels again showing he can cut it, Bevans again proving he’s there if we need him, O’Dowda getting a run out and – at last, we’ve suddenly found ways to score from corners! Interesting formation from Mickey, making the most of the limited personnel he had available. A great result. With players like Williams, Potter, Rigg (the on-form version) Jake, Whing and later Meades to come back, we have a squad certainly capable of kicking on for a top 3 finish. Plenty to look forward to. Roy Burton's shorts
  • Score: 42

5:41am Wed 5 Feb 14

adlibber says...

If we want automatic promotion we should be taking 3pts from struggling teams. Draws won't take us up. Resurrection of home form is a bright spot let's hope this continues. Good to see youngsters given a chance to shine.Next two games against teams in 20th&21st in league so 6pts not beyond us. Would be nice to see a few more goals too - I feel we have a 4 goal thumping to hand out soon.
If we want automatic promotion we should be taking 3pts from struggling teams. Draws won't take us up. Resurrection of home form is a bright spot let's hope this continues. Good to see youngsters given a chance to shine.Next two games against teams in 20th&21st in league so 6pts not beyond us. Would be nice to see a few more goals too - I feel we have a 4 goal thumping to hand out soon. adlibber
  • Score: -17

6:58am Wed 5 Feb 14

oldun says...

One of the thumbs down collectors (I love em) again says - keep in the top 3 !!

Some very tough '6 pointers' to come against five of our promotion rivals - we need to play much better if we are to avoid the play off lottery
One of the thumbs down collectors (I love em) again says - keep in the top 3 !! Some very tough '6 pointers' to come against five of our promotion rivals - we need to play much better if we are to avoid the play off lottery oldun
  • Score: 1

8:12am Wed 5 Feb 14

AylesburyOx says...

Under Wilder we were no threat from corners and now that he's gone we've scored from 2 in 2 games...but that's enough of my Wilder bashing.

I'd take a point at Bury - sounded like a really hard fought game and was a point won rather than 2 points lost.

We'd better go up this season as Bury will be one of those teams that will be challenging for it next time around.

Also good to hear the young players sounding so confident and supported; as Roy Burton said, with the players that are coming back from injury there are a lot of positives to look forward to for the final 3rd of the season.
Well done all and keep it going!
Under Wilder we were no threat from corners and now that he's gone we've scored from 2 in 2 games...but that's enough of my Wilder bashing. I'd take a point at Bury - sounded like a really hard fought game and was a point won rather than 2 points lost. We'd better go up this season as Bury will be one of those teams that will be challenging for it next time around. Also good to hear the young players sounding so confident and supported; as Roy Burton said, with the players that are coming back from injury there are a lot of positives to look forward to for the final 3rd of the season. Well done all and keep it going! AylesburyOx
  • Score: 28

8:17am Wed 5 Feb 14

BigAlBiker says...

I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive.

All in all a good day.

Onwards and upwards.
I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive. All in all a good day. Onwards and upwards. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 16

9:44am Wed 5 Feb 14

South Upper 87 says...

I went to the game. In one way I thought Bury looked pretty useful,however while not trying to be negative I and others around me felt that we set out to contain them, rather than look for three ponts. I know we sent on two strikers in the second half which points to attacking formation, but we did tend to hold back a bit. Our best spell was to get level, then we sat back again. Defence looked good, shame about Clarkey, but he made amends in the rest of the game. Thought they should have had a penatly late in the game...we would have been howling if the boot was on the other foot.. In the end a good point, hopefully we will take Saturday's game as three pointer rather than just looking for one.
I went to the game. In one way I thought Bury looked pretty useful,however while not trying to be negative I and others around me felt that we set out to contain them, rather than look for three ponts. I know we sent on two strikers in the second half which points to attacking formation, but we did tend to hold back a bit. Our best spell was to get level, then we sat back again. Defence looked good, shame about Clarkey, but he made amends in the rest of the game. Thought they should have had a penatly late in the game...we would have been howling if the boot was on the other foot.. In the end a good point, hopefully we will take Saturday's game as three pointer rather than just looking for one. South Upper 87
  • Score: 7

12:10pm Wed 5 Feb 14

william12 says...

Bury have signed some good players to get them out of the bottom half.
We had to play Development players due to injuries.
.The teams at the bottom are fighting for survival.Bury would see it as two points lost.They have not lost at home for a while.
Expect the same at Bristol.
Bury have signed some good players to get them out of the bottom half. We had to play Development players due to injuries. .The teams at the bottom are fighting for survival.Bury would see it as two points lost.They have not lost at home for a while. Expect the same at Bristol. william12
  • Score: 7

12:44pm Wed 5 Feb 14

London_Ox says...

To stand a realistic chance of getting into the Autos, we need to be coming away with 3 points from places like Exeter and Bury, unless our we have a blinding last third of the season at home..
To stand a realistic chance of getting into the Autos, we need to be coming away with 3 points from places like Exeter and Bury, unless our we have a blinding last third of the season at home.. London_Ox
  • Score: -4

1:11pm Wed 5 Feb 14

oldun says...

London_Ox wrote:
To stand a realistic chance of getting into the Autos, we need to be coming away with 3 points from places like Exeter and Bury, unless our we have a blinding last third of the season at home..
We might get by as this is the most mediocre 4th tier that I can remember - and we have spent so many seasons in the basement (and yes four even lower) . Any team which goes up will need real strengthening if they are to avoid the lower reaches of the third tier next season. This is a great chance of ending n the top 3 - which we must not waste
[quote][p][bold]London_Ox[/bold] wrote: To stand a realistic chance of getting into the Autos, we need to be coming away with 3 points from places like Exeter and Bury, unless our we have a blinding last third of the season at home..[/p][/quote]We might get by as this is the most mediocre 4th tier that I can remember - and we have spent so many seasons in the basement (and yes four even lower) . Any team which goes up will need real strengthening if they are to avoid the lower reaches of the third tier next season. This is a great chance of ending n the top 3 - which we must not waste oldun
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Wed 5 Feb 14

EastIlsleyyellow says...

BigAlBiker wrote:
I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive. All in all a good day. Onwards and upwards.
Wow a positve comment, has you're accout been hacked?
[quote][p][bold]BigAlBiker[/bold] wrote: I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive. All in all a good day. Onwards and upwards.[/p][/quote]Wow a positve comment, has you're accout been hacked? EastIlsleyyellow
  • Score: 6

2:45pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Richard Wickson says...

In reply to Adlibber and London Ox this was a decent Bury side who played good Football, it was definetlley a point gained, both here and at Exeter last week we were outplayed for much of the game but never gave up trying and in this one at least could have won it at the death. We go to Bristol in good heart and I think and hope it could be 3 points for us there, they haven't rebuilt like Bury have.
In reply to Adlibber and London Ox this was a decent Bury side who played good Football, it was definetlley a point gained, both here and at Exeter last week we were outplayed for much of the game but never gave up trying and in this one at least could have won it at the death. We go to Bristol in good heart and I think and hope it could be 3 points for us there, they haven't rebuilt like Bury have. Richard Wickson
  • Score: 5

3:25pm Wed 5 Feb 14

BigAlBiker says...

EastIlsleyyellow wrote:
BigAlBiker wrote:
I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive. All in all a good day. Onwards and upwards.
Wow a positve comment, has you're accout been hacked?
Nope, just my opinion as usual.

One i am entitled to.
[quote][p][bold]EastIlsleyyellow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BigAlBiker[/bold] wrote: I reckon that was a good point gained from a team who not only have some good players but the will to survive. All in all a good day. Onwards and upwards.[/p][/quote]Wow a positve comment, has you're accout been hacked?[/p][/quote]Nope, just my opinion as usual. One i am entitled to. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Wed 5 Feb 14

London_Ox says...

Richard Wickson wrote:
In reply to Adlibber and London Ox this was a decent Bury side who played good Football, it was definetlley a point gained, both here and at Exeter last week we were outplayed for much of the game but never gave up trying and in this one at least could have won it at the death. We go to Bristol in good heart and I think and hope it could be 3 points for us there, they haven't rebuilt like Bury have.
I disagree.. Although Bury have made a few additions, they are hardly setting the world alight and are a team in the midst of a relegation battle whilst we have been in the top 6 places most of the season and could have come second yesterday.. If we are to achieve automatic promotion, we will need to do better than only two points from games with Exeter and Bury.. Arguably you can put a spin on most sides in the league if they have put a little run together but we some be competently going into these games bullish and not saying it was a useless point against a good side or cliques to that effect.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Wickson[/bold] wrote: In reply to Adlibber and London Ox this was a decent Bury side who played good Football, it was definetlley a point gained, both here and at Exeter last week we were outplayed for much of the game but never gave up trying and in this one at least could have won it at the death. We go to Bristol in good heart and I think and hope it could be 3 points for us there, they haven't rebuilt like Bury have.[/p][/quote]I disagree.. Although Bury have made a few additions, they are hardly setting the world alight and are a team in the midst of a relegation battle whilst we have been in the top 6 places most of the season and could have come second yesterday.. If we are to achieve automatic promotion, we will need to do better than only two points from games with Exeter and Bury.. Arguably you can put a spin on most sides in the league if they have put a little run together but we some be competently going into these games bullish and not saying it was a useless point against a good side or cliques to that effect. London_Ox
  • Score: 1

12:26pm Thu 6 Feb 14

adlibber says...

6pts from next two games is not a difficult task -This is the time to cement a top 3 spot.. All those thumbs down people? I think its Sid Snakey with a shakey repetitive strain ;-) possibly helped by Big Yellow Larf who seems to have disappeared - makes you wonder if he was Wilder himself!!
6pts from next two games is not a difficult task -This is the time to cement a top 3 spot.. All those thumbs down people? I think its Sid Snakey with a shakey repetitive strain ;-) possibly helped by Big Yellow Larf who seems to have disappeared - makes you wonder if he was Wilder himself!! adlibber
  • Score: 1

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