First of all I would like to pay tribute to the superb Silkmen following who sang their hearts out for the lads for much of the game in spite of what they had to witness on the pitch which was far from pretty I can assure you.
I clearly acknowledge that the off field issues regarding players wages must surely have been a distracting and potentially demotivating issue for the playing staff but let’s face it that was a truly abysmal performance, and once again in that accursed black away strip! I know the Shakers of Bury are flying high at the top end of the table but they hardly had to move out of second gear (or even first to be honest) to inflict a fully deserved defeat upon us that now means we are now four points adrift of safety and looking increasingly at risk of being cut adrift and literally ‘sleepwalking’ our way out of the Football League in our first season back.
I have to be honest that when Sol Campbell first came to the club I fully expected that Premiership clubs would literally be queuing up to send their youngsters on loan under the tutelage of a Premier League and England legend. Instead we have thirty odd players at the club (we can only have eighteen players in the squad for a game Sol) and most of them are not even getting a look in. Indeed, from what I have seen of ones that are getting a look in; they aren’t much better than what we already had!!
Anyway to the game. The first half saw Bury pass the ball around well and demonstrate why they are riding high at the top of the league, but by heck we didn’t half help them. Our midfield (ahem) were allowing them the freedom of the park to drive forward against us, and it was only the defence marshalled by the superb Nathan Cameron (my Man of the Match by three country miles) that kept them at bay until the 24th minute when Maynard smashed the ball into the net in front of the Silkmen faithful for a goal that the Shakers of Bury deserved albeit at a time when the Silkmen were slowly getting into the game. The Shakers should have doubled their lead before the break, but fortuitously didn’t, and we went into the half-time break a goal down after a disappointingly insipid first half performance.
Yours truly, PBJ and the Broughton boys (aka Dave & Sam) mused about the possibility of a decent second half performance as a contrast to recent games where we had been good in the first half and awful in the second. As the players emerged from the tunnel there was no sign of any substitutions, but the lads were kicking towards the Silkmen faithful, and we hoped our backing could in some way contribute towards an extremely valuable point or even three God willing!
The second half started with the Shakers missing a glorious chance by the impressive Maynard early in the second half before the Shakers appeared to take their proverbial ‘foot off the gas’ and the Silkmen grew into the game leading the Silkmen faithful to believe that we could get something out of the game as their volume of our support grew in intensity.
The game was crying out for a hero, and who better than Silkmen talisman Elliott Durrell; a firm fans favourite with the innate ability to change a game as he proved so often last season. The incessant calls for Elliott from the Silkmen faithful appeared to fall on deaf ears, and pretty much against the run of play the Shakers were gifted a golden opportunity when Miles Welch-Hayes inexplicably held his hand way above his head in the penalty box and gave the referee no option but to award a penalty. This was clinically dispatched by O’Shea and the game was effectively ended as a contest. Harry Smith went close with a header from a corner late into the game, but the Silkmen fell asleep once again at the death when Wharton nodded home the Shakers third from a free-kick to finish off a thoroughly disheartening day for the Silkmen faithful.
The honeymoon period is most definitely over for Sol Campbell. The constant calls for Silkmen talisman Elliott Durrell were ignored, and the howls of derision that were followed by ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ when Silkmen hotshot Scott Wilson was replaced by Botti Biabi shows that Sol has a lot of work to do in the next three games (two at home and one away against relegation rivals Yeovil) to convince the Silkmen faithful that he has what it takes to steer us to safety.
On Friday night there was a fabulously supported race night for Silkmen legend Danny Whitaker as part of his testimonial season that also included a question and answer session. During the Q&A, Danny affirmed that he was fit and ready to fight for the Silkmen cause should he be called upon by Mr Campbell. This is surely an absolute ‘no brainer‘ for Sol to play Danny. Danny is different class to the likes of Callum Maycock (aka the square ball kid) & Michael Rose who had a purple patch around Christmas but has faded markedly since. Please don’t even get me started about how Ryan Lloyd isn’t even in the squad of 18 because the mere thought of it sends my blood pressure into orbit!
I openly admit that I have been particularly impressed by Sol Campbell’s interviews during his tenure at the club but the one following Saturday’s dismal performance was notimpressive at all. The interview was distinctly cliched, and you almost got the impression that he had written off this game even before it had started which isn’t very comforting for the 500 or so Silkmen faithful that gave up their valuable time and money to witness a truly turgid display that was anything but one of the many cup final displays that he has talked about us having to produce until the end of the season. I am a very simple sort of bloke when it comes to football but IMHO you play your best and most committed players EVERY GAME barring injury / illness etc. I therefore implore you Sol to please look no further than DANNY WHITAKER, ELLIOTT DURRELL &RYAN LLOYDif you are to give us any chance of staying up and maintaining the support of the Silkmen faithful. I am Silkmen till I die!