Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley
Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley
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Honours ended even in Preston North End’s Boxing Day clash with Bury at Deepdale.

Just over a week after the sides shared a thrilling 3-3 draw in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, the scoreline was blank in a contest played in front of a 12,014 crowd - the highest this season.

It was a game which started promisingly for North End enough before petering out into a rather drab affair.

The Lilywhites had the majority of possession in the first half but after making a high tempo start and carving out a number of chances, they completely ran out of ideas going forward.

The second half was a non-event, Bury content with their away point and PNE unable to come up with the necessary craft to find their way through a solid Shakers defence.

Graham Westley had made four changes to the PNE side which had featured in last Saturday’s draw at Coventry,

Luke Foster, John Welsh, Will Hayhurst and Chris Beardsley were the quartet who came into the starting line-up.

David Amoo dropped down to the bench, while Chris Robertson, Graham Cummins and Lee Holmes weren’t involved - Holmes injured his groin at Coventry.

Goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann made his 50th appearance between the posts for North End.

With the rain coming down in buckets, PNE made a high tempo start to the contest, putting the Bury goal under intense pressure.

Just 22 seconds were on the clock when Jack King missed his kick in front of goal after Wlsh had burst into the box.

Then in the third minute, Procter drove in a shot from the right side of the box which Shakers keeper Trevor Carson pushed round the near post.

A pass from John Mousinho played Welsh in down the inside-right channel, the midfielder crossing low into the middle.

It picked out Hayhurst 14 yards out whose low goal-bound shot was blocked by Efe Sodje’s outstretched leg.

Another chance fell PNE’s way after quarter of an hour, Joel Byrom’s free-kick into the box won by King in the air.

His knock down bounced into the path of Foster who struck a shot on the volley just wide of the target.

Bury were content to play on the counter-attack in that opening spell, Stuckmann saving at the feet of Tom Soares.

Steven Schumacher tried his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards which disappeared high over the bar.

The visitors went close in the 23rd minute, the PNE defence failing to pick up Tom Hopper’s run from deep after a long throw was launched from the right.

Hopper burst into the box and hit a low shot which flew just wide of the near post and into the side-netting.

Procter cut in from the right, running along the edge of the box, before drilling in an effort which deflected wide off a Bury boot.

Just past the half hour North End appealed for a penalty after a coming together of Beardsley and Sodje in the box, but referee Mark Haywood waved play on.

A 35th minute shot from Welsh struck Shakers centre-half Mark Hughes on the shin and looped behind for a corner.

In first-half stoppage time, Beardsley and King both miscued shots in the box - Beardsley’s scuffed effort falling into the path of King whose effort bobbled up into the air.

Westley made his first substitution in the 56th minute, Jeffrey Monakana coming off the bench to replace Procter.

That was soon followed by Lee Trundle’s introduction at the expense of Hayhurst, this the veteran striker’s first appearance for PNE in the league.

Trundle had a sight of goal in the 69th minute, his curling side-foot shot from the edge of the box comfortably dealt with by Carson.

Stuckmann got a rare call into the action, diving to push away a half-volley from Shakers winger David Worrall.

PNE: Stuckmann, Mousinho, Wright, Foster, Buchanan, Procter (Monakana 56), Welsh, Byrom, Hayhurst (Trundle 62), King, Beardsley (Amoo 71). Unused subs: Huntington, Kane, Elding, Simonsen.

Bury: Carson, Doherty, Sodje, Hughes, Skarz, Worrall, Schumacher, Thompson, Soares (C Jones 77), Hopper, Healy (John-Lewis 66). Unused subs: Sweeney, Hewitt, A Jones, Carole, Belford.

Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 12,014