The experience of Efe Sodje will be crucial for the fight that lies ahead.

by David Triggs

In my first ever article for The Cutter, I sang the praises of Bury Football Club. The flowing football, the feeling of togetherness and I even mention the play-offs. Well, I’ve learnt first hand how quickly things can change in Football.

The article went up the day we played Yeovil at home, and we emerged victorious. It was something that Bury supporters wouldn’t be experiencing again for an extremely long time. The following Saturday saw a local derby as The Shakers travelled to Spotland to gain revenge on The Dale for their 4-2 win at Gigg Lane earlier in the season. However, a truly woeful gutless performance saw the home side run out 3-2 winners. The Shakers then travelled to The Valley to play table-toppers Charlton, and were on course for all 3 points until a 92nd minute equaliser from former Shaker, Dale Stephens.

Into February, and the Shakers only managed 2 points from 5 games. Both were 1-1 draws at home to Chesterfield and Leyton Orient. Bury were beginning to slide down the table, and many fans started to look at the bottom end of the table rather than the top. The month finished with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Hartlepool. March started with a baptism of fire. A home tie with promotion contenders Huddersfield. 30 minutes played, and with the score at 0-3, some home fans were heading home early. However,  a Steven Schumacher free-kick gave Bury a glimmer of hope at half-time. Cult hero, Lennel John-Lewis then made it 3-2 midway through the second half, and in the second minute of added time, Blackpool loanee, Ashley Eastham headed home a dramatic equalizer. Could this morale raising result lead to resurgence in the Shakers dressing room?

The answer was an adamant no as three successive 4-1 defeats against Sheffield Wednesday, Carlisle and Wycombe meant Bury were now well and truly in a relegation dogfight. The game against Wycombe was especially damaging as it was the real definition of a relegation six-pointer. The following Tuesday came the visit of former manager Alan Knill and his Scunthorpe side. Richie Barker made several changes including the introduction of academy graduate Andrai Jones at full-back. The Shakers looked the better of the two sides but the game ended 0-0 with Bury keeping their first clean sheet since 26th November. Four months had passed! The Bury manager said post-match “When a ball is rolling down a hill, you have to stop it before you can kick it back up”

A trip to Preston North End followed the draw with Scunthorpe, and another positive performance was on show. However, the Shakers fell behind to a goal from debutant Chuks Aneke. However, West Brom loanee Lateef Elford-Alliyu came off the bench to save the day for the Shakers with a last-gasp equalizer.

As April approached, the Shakers welcomed in-form Tranmere Rovers to Gigg Lane on the 31st March. Another excellent performance, this time saw The Shakers take the lead through veteran defender Efe Sodje, and Sheffield Wednesday loanee Giles Coke  then doubled the lead soon after. The match finished 2-0 in Bury’s favour and they have taken a huge stride towards League 1 survival.

Currently on a three game unbeaten run we travel to another in-form team Brentford on Saturday. The League 1 survival race is still very close, even though the bottom three look almost dead and buried. There are now four teams who are all trying to avoid that final relegation place, with The Shakers being one of them.

Bury can still definitely stay up, but can’t afford to get complacent at this late stage. Up The Shakers!

You can follow David on Twitter!/triggs14