Fleetwood Town were eliminated from the Checkatrade Trophy after a 3-1 defeat to Bury at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night.
All four goals came in the first half with Kyle Dempsey’s early strike cancelled out by goals from Dominic Telford, Chris Dagnall and Nicky Adams.
Joey Barton made eight changes to the team from Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Alfreton Town in the Emirates FA Cup. Nathan Sheron and Cian Bolger retained their places, with Conor McAleny and Dean Marney amongst the substitutes.
The home side had the game’s first chance after four minutes. Adams’ curling free-kick from outside the box evaded everyone, including Town keeper Paul Jones, and thankfully sailed just wide of the back post.
It took just 15 minutes for Fleetwood to open the scoring. Dempsey picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and unleashed a fierce drive past Matthew Hudson, who could get nowhere near the thunderous strike.
However, the visitors’ lead only lasted seven minutes. Bury’s Neil Danns went down in the box under a Gerard Garner challenge, and Anthony Backhouse pointed to the spot. Telford confidently stood up and slotted into the bottom right-hand corner to level the tie.
Bolger’s heroics were on hand soon after to ensure the game remained 1-1. He cleared Dagnall’s corner and a few minutes later his sliding tackle prevented a tap-in for the same man. Yet, there was nothing he could do on 32 minutes when the striker put the hosts ahead.
A through ball released Telford inside the Fleetwood box, he prodded it back into the path of Dagnall, who dispatched it past Jones to make it 2-1.
It was three soon after. Ryan Cooney swivelled on the left corner of the box and slipped the ball through to Dagnall. His curling shot was well parried by Jones, but Adams was quickest to react and he slotted the ball home from six yards out.
Town nearly pulled one back soon after. Dempsey fed Biggins who drove into the box and found Garner in the centre. The striker never really looked in control of the shot and it unfortunately went just wide.
Fleetwood were forced into a late substitution in the first period when the injured Eddie Clarke was replaced by youngster Lewis Baines.
Boss Joey Barton also made a double substitution at the break with Conor McAleny and Dean Marney replacing Gethin Jones and Chris Long.
And it was McAleny, playing for the first time since September due to a hamstring injury, who had the second period’s first chance of note, but his curling effort from just inside the Shakers’ box was well held by Hudson.
The away side were well on top at this stage, and came close again a few minutes later, when Harrison Biggins’ first time volley went just wide.
Next it was Bury’s turn to attack. Adams foray down the right wing saw him find Dagnall with a superb cross, but the midfielder’s shot was closed down by several Fleetwood defenders.
The Cod Army were pressing hard to get back into the game, and they nearly did on 65 minutes. Ryan Taylor’s in-swinging corner was met by Biggins and he was unlucky to see it go just over the bar.
Taylor’s set-pieces were proving difficult to deal with, and he nearly found the back on the net from around 25 yards.
Bury continued to drop deeper, limiting chances for Fleetwood, who managed a few speculative efforts from Marney and McAleny.
Their attacks proved to be in vein however, and Barton’s men failed to break down an organised Bury defence.
Substitute Byron Moore did test Jones in the latter stages, but Town’s keeper made a smart save down to his far post.
The play was more end-to-end in the game’s final 10 minutes, with little goal-mouth action in a disappointing evening for Town.
Biggins was forced off in added time due to injury, meaning Fleetwood finished with just ten men.
Bury XI: Hudson (GK), Miller, Stokes (Thompson ’65), Adams, Dignall (Moore ’74), Styles, Edwards, Cooney, Telford, Barjones (Hulme ’90) Danns (c)
Subs not used: Moloney (GK), Omotayo, Shotton, Brown
Town’s XI: P Jones (GK), Clarke (Baines ’45), Dempsey, Bolger (c), Long (Marney ’45), Taylor, G Jones (McAleny ’45), Biggins, Sheron, Garner, Wallace
Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Holt, Hunter, Holgate