Bury 2, Bradford City 0

FORGET Meadow Lane, Moss Rose and the McCain Stadium - it's Molineux, Manor Ground and the McAlpine for the Shakers next season.

Okay, so Stan Ternent and his players aren't about to admit it yet but Easter Monday's convincing triumph over Bradford City has virtually assured First Division status and leaves the club a tantalising one point away from the manager's half-century safety target.

In fact it's a distinct possibility that the 49 point total they have already amassed will be enough after the bottom four clubs in the section, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Stoke and Reading all chose the Bank Holiday to fall by the wayside.

And any fainthearts who harboured thoughts that Saturday's Teesside trouncing at the hands of Middlesbrough would be a confidence drainer for the remainder of the season should hang their heads in shame - this is the Shakers we're talking about!

True to form they bounced back with a terrific display that merited far more than the two goal margin courtesy of Tony Ellis and Nick Daws.

Daws admitted a few heads were down after Saturday's routing but the positive attitude that permeates the club came to the fore in the end.

"Morale was a little low after Middlesbrough, especially the way the other results went" he explained.

"But the 'gaffer' and Sam picked us up and said forget about it, it's an old cliche but you can't turn the clock back after you've been battered!"

That's a maxim that Bantams caretaker boss Paul Jewell might do well to remember though his assessment that his team had put in a "scandalous performance" shouldn't be allowed to take credit away from a fine Bury display. From the moment referee Ken Leach got the game underway it was a matter of time before the Gigg Lane men made the breakthrough.

Only 32 seconds had elapsed when City 'keeper Gary Walsh had to go down to smother an Andy Woodward cross after Ellis's backheel had sent him clear in the box and two minutes later Walsh had to be on his toes to block Rob Matthews' angled volley after Bryan Small's cross was only half cleared.

City's only worthwhile effort arrived after 10 minutes when Nigel Pepper fizzed a vicious drive just wide of Dean Kiely's right hand post from the edge of the box but from then on it was pretty much one-way traffic.

The direct running and pace of man-of-the-match Rob Matthews was a constant worry for the Bradford defence and time after time he showed up well on the right flank.

When he delivered a hard, low cross from the touchline, Ellis was inches away from connecting and the former Blackpool man came close again when Lennie Johnrose set him up after dispossessing Andrew O'Brien but his mishit shot went wide of the post.

As the Shakers laid siege to the City goal Peter Swan saw a glancing header comfortably collected by Walsh then after 39 minutes Ellis raised his hands to the gods in exasperation when his terrific shot on the turn was palmed away full-stretch by the City custodian.

Two minutes later his hands were raised for all the right reasons when his sixth goal for the club put them into a long-overdue lead. Again Matthews played his part as an astute ball from Daws sent him scampering down the right wing.

His cross was cleared as far as Bryan Small whose first time shot cannoned off Walsh. Swan's follow up header was cleared off the line by O'Brien but only as far as Ellis who reacted quickly to head into the top corner.

Too often at Gigg Lane this season the Shakers have paid the price for not building on a one goal lead but it wasn't to be the case this time - thanks to the speed of thought and determination of Daws.

When Kiely's long ball was flicked on by Swan it looked to be an easy clearance job for Lee Sinnott but he reckoned without action man Daws.

As the ball reared up on the sandy surface the former Watford man dithered and that was all Daws needed to get a vital touch before racing past the bemused defender and firing into the bottom corner for his third goal of the season.

"On that sort of pitch you have to be positive," said the goalscorer.

"If you let the ball bounce you can be in all sorts of trouble. Fortunately the defender hesitated and I felt if I got something on it I'd get passed him which I did - it was great to see the ball hit the back of the net."

Three minutes later Ellis fired high and wide after Steve McAnespie's backpass had been intercepted by Peter Swan then Johnrose shaved the post with a hard low drive following a Daws long throw.

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