At the midway point of the campaign, here are a few league-only player and team stats as a measure of how 1885 Bury are faring beyond the table itself:
Top Scorer: James Morris – 13 (joint 1st best)
Most Assists: no player in the top 20
Most Player of the Match Awards: James Morris – 5 (joint 3rd best)
Highest Average Rating: James Morris – 7.11 (10th best)
Goals For: 28 (joint 11th best)
Goals Against: 23 (joint 4th best)
Pass Completion Ratio: 72% (1st best)
Shots on Target Ratio: 39% (6th best)
Shot Conversion Rate: 7% (22nd best… the worst!)
James Morris gets his reward for a superb December, scoring six goals in just five matches
(1885 Bury score first):
Curzon Ashton (a): 3-1
Near neighbours Curzon Ashton employed a narrow 4-3-3, a shape rarely seen at any level in English football. It was precisely that lack of width that led to a penalty for the Shakers, and top scorer Morris got his 18th of the term despite the best efforts of Cameron Mason. In a very dominant showing, Morris assisted Dylon Meredith for a simple headed second at the far post. Luke Jordan did his best to dispel that narrative, capping off a solo run with a cut inside and neat finish to reduce the arrears. James Hudson fed Morris from the other flank for a third; however, Jason Fletcher was taken off injured with all three subs made, but other than a concession of territory, no real effect was seen. Nine games unbeaten now…
Kidderminster Harriers (a): 0-0
17 points off the leaders (and occupiers of the sole automatic promotion spot), and in a tightly-fought contest, 1885 Bury had Lewis Landers to thank on several occasions for earning a stalemate.
Hartlepool United (a) <FA Trophy 2nd Round>: 0-2
The next match on the road pitted the Shakers against higher tier opposition in the form of National League outfit Hartlepool. Well-known lower league veteran Jason Kennedy crashed in the first for the north-eastern club. Rumarn Burrell thought he’d added a second before the 10th minute mark, but it was disallowed for a clear offside. Altin Zeqiri did ensure clear daylight after a good switch from the left flank. Morris could’ve done better with a rare opportunity late on, but the hosts were well worth their win. The result of that is passing the club vision for the competition, but not exceeding it.
Farsley Celtic (h): 2-0
Morris reached his 20th whilst still in January in this fixture (no small feat regardless of the level), and was quickly followed by a Meredith rebound to solidify the advantage. Hudson did his very best to engineer a way for Farsley to get back into the match with a red for a rash tackle, but they could only muster one shot on target in the 90 minutes.
Alfreton Town (h): 0-0
This match was like a throwback to the ‘dark days’ of October – having the majority of possession, creating more chances, but simply not finishing them off. Alfreton were sturdy opposition, putting up a decent fight of their own without landing many blows.
Can an unlikely run to the title be mounted without any cups to distract my young squad? Find out tomorrow if it becomes even plausible…