Date: 29th November 2008 at 9:43pm
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MATCH REPORT: Accrington Stanley 1-2 Bury @ The Fraser Eagle Stadium.

JOHN Coleman saw his Accrington side fall to a first defeat in four on Saturday afternoon, in what was a very frosty affair in East Lancashire.

The League Two spotlight fell on the Fraser Eagle Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but the light offered no forms of warmth for Stanley and their supporters.

Stanley’s players had the chance to step up to the plate and show the league what they were made of as they featured in the only Coca-Cola Football League Two game of the day hosting Bury a month earlier than officially planned, due to both sides being eliminated from the F.A. Cup.

But I’m sure that the 2,000 fans there would have hoped to have seen the game played on a different day as the winter bite descended on Accrington, leaving supporters shivering in their seats and squinting their eyes as heavy fog arrived, a problem that was echoed around the country.

Coleman named new loanee Craig Mahon amongst the substitutes after the young striker joined one a one month deal from Premiership outfit Wigan Athletic during the week, whereas Darlington striker Gregg Blundell who also joined on a one month loan deal on Thursday, took his place in the starting 11.

Blundell would have been delighted to be in the starting line up for the Reds, especially after cancelling plans for him and his girlfriend to head to Paris, the romance capital of the world, for the weekend, and wouldn’t have liked to have been sat cuddled up to Jamie Speare on the substitutes bench I wouldn’t have thought.

But the game was eventually won by two first half strikes from the visitors, and both came within the space of three minutes. Midfield duo Michael Jones and Brian Barry-Murphy both hit the back of Kenny Arthur’s net on the 35th and 38th minutes to effectively win the tie before the Half-Time break.

Former Tranmere Rovers man John Mullin had a golden opportunity to narrow the deficit on the stroke of half time but his penalty kick was expertly palmed away by Bury stopper Wayne Brown to keep the Shackers’ two goal lead intact.

Jones opened the scoring when he powered home an header from close range after fantastic work by Andy Bishop, who was being watched by Championship clubs earlier in the season.

Three minutes later and ‘bish bash bosh’, Bury’s lead was doubled as Barry-Murphy converted Glynn Hurst’s headed set up, slotting the ball home past big Scot Arthur from just inside the 18-yard box.

New signing Blundell was then felled in the box by Efe Sodje and a penalty was awarded but Mullin’s dire effort was saved and the score remained two goals to the good in favour of Bury heading into the break.

Then in came the fog which put the game in a major doubt, and with it came a double substitution for Stanley which saw Mahon replace defender Chris King as the Reds went on the attack and Blackburn Rovers man Jamie Clarke replaced Blundell up top. The commands had to be shouted down to Assistant Manager Jimmy Bell after gaffer Coleman was sent to the stands following an argument with referee Lee Probert.

Paul Mullin was then fouled in the area and so came Stanley’s second penalty of the game, this time upstepped Clarke who converted the 79th minute spot kick, but it was too little too late for Accrington.

Going off other reports, P Mullin almost converted an header following a near side corner, only to see his effort cleared from the Bury line. Like I said, that is going off other reports as I couldn’t see the goalmouth from my reporting position. Did Paul Mullin have an effort cleared off the line? Answers on a postcard please.

Accrington Stanley: Arthur, Richardson (Murdock 46), Edwards, Charnock, King (Mahon 66), Ryan, John Mullin, Griffiths, Miles, Paul Mullin, Blundell (Clarke 66). Subs Not Used: Speare, Procter.

Goals: Clarke 79 pen.

Bury: Brown, Scott, Sodje, Futcher, Buchanan, Bennett, Dawson, Barry-Murphy, Jones (Howell 60), Hurst (Cresswell 60), Bishop (Morrell 88). Subs Not Used: Baker, Racchi.

Booked: Sodje, Brown.

Goals: Jones 35, Barry-Murphy 38.

Att: 2,093

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).