Saturday saw The Lions record another win at home, taking the tally to 5 for the season, now unbeaten in 6 in front of our own fans. A great turnaround to the start of the season, where it seemed we would never manage to win a game at home. Doesn’t make for bad reading, we have climbed to 7th place, with a game in hand on both Wigan and Peterborough in 5th and 6th, although our low goal difference could be an issue at the end of the season, with a +4 goal difference. But it was the perfect way to bounce back after our poor result and performance up at Fleetwood.
I think we all agree, when leaving the ground, it wasn’t a dominant win for us, it was one of those back against the wall wins where we dug deep and earned a clean sheet and more importantly a win. However it wasn’t a game where Archer was the hero with countless saves, but we might have seen the save of the season from the young shot stopper. The first chance of the game brought that save from Archer, with a free kick from the right met with a header, and with it seemingly going in, Archer clawed the ball from behind and made a terrific save, probably the best we will see for some time. From now on we will refer to it as ‘that save’, as it will be spoke about for a long while.
Aside from the standout save, it felt like a well earned win, credit to Bury, who have a decent set of players and look like a team which might be in the mix come the end of the season. Leon Clarke has managed to score 12 goals in all competitions this season, however against us today he didn’t have a single chance on goal, with both Beevers and Webster having great games. Every ball into the box was cleared, all tackles were perfectly timed, whenever Clarke got the ball he was prevented from doing anything. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was sceptical as to whether Beevers and Webster could work together, both are less mobile, and in a partnership you’d ideally want to cover every aspect, but the pair together have been a hit, which makes it more annoying that we will be without Webster on Tuesday night. Having been booked for the 5th time this season, he will sit out our trip to Burton, meaning Sid Nelson will get a first start since September. I don’t doubt that Nelson will give 100% on Tuesday, and he will be captain one day at Millwall for sure, however with both Beevers and Webster having great games against Bury, you’d want to keep changes at the back to a minimum.
A notable absentee in the lineup when announced at two o’clock was the name of stand-in captain Steve Morison, with Morison taking his place on the bench for the game. It later emerged that Morison was suffering with illness, and despite being told to stay home and recover, he turned up and declared himself available if Harris needed him. It’s that sort of commitment we have enjoyed this season from the frontman, no one was sure how it would go with him coming back for a third time, but he has been my player of the season so far. When you’re looking to hold on to a 1-0 win there isn’t much better at this level than Morison, his game management is incredible. What’s also very noticeable this season from Morison is he is relishing being a senior player in the side, he is clearly respected by all the players and constantly offers advice to the team and the younger players in the squad. He is enjoying being at the club, and that is all down to playing for his close mate Neil Harris, credit to the manager for this signing.
So with Morison out, the captain for the day was Shaun Williams, he won’t ever lead in the same way as Morison, but I thought he led by playing his game to the best of his ability. On Tuesday night at Fleetwood he had his poorest game in a long while, and I personally thought he might have been dropped for the game, but he was a different player against Bury on Saturday, running the midfield in the first half with quick movement and playing at a high tempo when with the ball. Even in the second half, despite being on the back foot and having to chase the game, he handled the midfield well and was the first player to throw himself into tackles. Just need the same performance from him every week please! Ed Upson also deserves a special mention for his work effort and tracking back, having been on the bench for the last few games you could tell he wanted to make the most of his chance, and fully deserved the ovation he received when being substituted towards the end. Playing with Ferguson behind him, he had more of a job to do defensively on Saturday, but done so to perfection.
Next step, Burton away on Tuesday…