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Report: Rovers 2 Bury 0

Two second half goals from Graham and Armstrong send Rovers to the League One summit

19 February 2018

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Two second half goals ensured Rovers went to the top of the table after a comfortable victory against relegation-threatened Bury at Ewood Park.

It was two Geordie strikers who did the damage and ensured the points went to the hosts, with the first coming through Danny Graham, who struck the opener just six minutes after the break, following a flat first half from Rovers.

And Adam Armstrong's fourth goal in his last three games sealed a priceless three points for Tony Mowbray's men, who leapfrog both Shrewsbury and Wigan and to the League One summit.

Manager Mowbray made four changes to the side for the Shakers' visit, with Darragh Lenihan, Corry Evans, Amari'i Bell and Graham all coming in. 

Those four earned starts after all beginning on the bench in the last outing down at Fratton Park, coming in for Ryan Nyambe, Paul Downing, Jack Payne and Dominic Samuel, who all dropped to the bench.

Mowbray was boosted by the return of Marcus Antonsson to the squad, who incidentally, scored twice against opponents Bury in the reverse fixture in November.

Craig Conway missed out through injury, whilst there was no place in the 18 for Paul Caddis and the suspended Lewis Travis, who was starting the first of a three-match ban.

Former Rovers man Neil Danns started and captained the visitors, whilst Connor Ripley - son of Rovers legend Stuart - was in goal for the Shakers.

It was the visitors who had the first attempt of the game as Danny Mayor blasted well wide, before Ripley produced a save with his legs to deny a fierce Bradley Dack effort with just 10 minutes gone.

Loanee George Miller latched onto a poor Elliott Bennett throw and nipped in to test David Raya with a bouncing half-volley soon after as the visitors looked to sneak at early goal.

Back at the other end and Derrick Williams glanced a header wide after getting on the end of an inswinging Charlie Mulgrew corner.

Bury came again though, and just before the half hour mark it was Mayor once more who forced Raya into action before Harry Bunn's strike from range did the same just a moment later.

Bennett saw his strike take a deflection and loop onto the roof of the net, before Josh Laurent saw his powerful effort whistle wide of Raya's left-hand post with just five minutes to go until half time, in a half with plenty of chances for both sides.

After the break, it was the visitors who came flying out of the traps and Rovers were indebted to Mulgrew for getting a vital block on Laurent's strike from close range just seconds into the half.

A moment later and Williams scuffed a header past Ripley's post after an excellent Mulgrew free kick found the Irishman at the back post as Rovers' frustrations started to grow.

But a minute later and the hosts did break the deadlock as Dack's delightful disguised dink found Graham, who gobbled up the opportunity to head home and bag his 13th of the season.

Bury's response was a good one and a counter attack led to Bunn curling an effort just wide of the target after a couple of Rovers players backed off the former Huddersfield man.

But any hopes Ryan Lowe's outfit of sneaking an equaliser were dealt a hammer blow when Armstrong added to Rovers' tally on 66 minutes and bag his fourth goal in his last three games, which came in commical fashion.

Substitute Antonsson's effort looked to be drifting wide of the target, but Greg Leigh inadvertently kept it in, the ball fell to Armstrong, and the striker was never going to miss from a couple of yards out.

That ensured further daylight between the sides, but ex-Rovers Academy graduate Danns looked to nick a goal back for the visitors but his shot took a deflection and was comfortable for Raya to collect with 20 minutes remaining.

Rovers were hunting more goals and the impressive Dack saw his venomous effort take a deflection before ending up in the side-netting with time running out.

Bury still had hopes of finding a route back into the game and Raya did well to hold a Miller effort at the near post after a cross from the right found the young striker.

Miller had a chance to get one back in the final seconds but Rovers held on to win and grab themselves a timely clean sheet to go top of League One for the first time this season. 

Rovers are next in action at Walsall on Saturday, looking to make it three consecutive wins. There'll be over 2,500 visiting supporters there, but tickets still remain available and can be purchased by clicking here.

Rovers: Raya, Lenihan, Mulgrew (c), Williams, Bennett, Smallwood, Evans (Payne, 63), Bell (Nyambe, 68), Dack, Armstrong, Graham (Antonsson, 63).

Substitutes: Leutwiler, Samuel, Downing, Tomlinson.

Goal: Graham, 51, Armstrong, 66

Bury: Ripley, Leigh, Edwards (O'Shea, 78), Cameron, Clarke, Danns (c), Ismail (Hanson, 68), Laurent (Tutte, 78), Mayor, Bunn, Miller.

Substitutes: Murphy, O'Shea, Thompson, Dawson, Maguire, Tutte.

Booked: Cameron, 85

Attendance: 12,038

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