Wigan 1 Bury 1 by Steve Canavan of the Bolton Evening News

WINTER is not normally associated with flowers blooming and the emergence of new life.

Andy Preece's young squad could prove the exception to the rule.

The average age of Bury's squad is barely 20 and yet, slowly but surely, Preece's inexperienced and raw side are starting to look more like the real thing every week.

Twelve months ago Bury dominated at the JJB Stadium but conceded a goal and lost 1-0. Yesterday, they again dominated and fell behind. But on this occasion they had the skill and the determination to battle back a force a 1-1 draw.

It is another step in the right direction and a sign that the Shakers are starting to click.

"My lads have got a lot of character and belief and we always looked like we were going to get something. We've got a nicely balanced team with some real athletes in it and things are looking quite good at the minute," said Preece.

"We are slowly creeping our way up the league and the reason is because the players will die for each other. I'm proud of all the lads."

With David Borley out with flu and Jamie Stuart playing with a heavy cold the omens did not look good. But Bury looked up for it right from the first kick and only a deflection prevented George Clegg from scoring on 19 minutes.

The Shakers continued to look the better team, Gareth Seddon skimming the cross bar with the last kick of the half. It was a good game to watch though sometimes the players were too pretty for their own good, summed up best by the exasperated fan who screamed: "For God's sake, somebody bloomin' hit it!"

Wigan striker Andy Liddell was obviously listening, scoring within four minutes of the restart shrugging off Sam Collins and beating Paddy kenny from close range.

Instead of cracking though, Bury fought back. Inspired by Chris Billy (superb on his return from a lengthy injury lay-off) they were rewarded 14 minutes from time.

And ironically - after all the talk of youngsters blossoming - it came from the 'old man' of the Bury side.

Billy hit a corner to the back post and an unmarked Steve Redmond struck a superb volley past former Blackburn keeper John Filan. It was the least Bury deserved.

BURY: Kenny 7, Unsworth 7, Stuart 7, Nelson 8, REDMOND 9, Collins 7, Jarrett 8, Billy 8, Clegg 8, Newby 7, Seddon 7. Subs: Hill (for Stuart 53), Lawson (for Clegg 67), Swailes, Preece, O'Shaughnessy. ATT: 6,751 BOOKINGS: Redmond (65 foul), Hill (75 foul). Signs of life