A Joe Skarz goal is enough to take three points
Bury vs Southend United
by Hannah Ingram at Gigg Lane
After a testing weekend on the south coast at Torquay, Bury returned to home turf to face Southend United. The 4-3 win at Plainmoor had extended the Shakers' unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions, and on the verge of the automatic promotion places. Southend had suffered two losses on the bounce, and were sitting in 16th place at the start of play.
Alan Knill's capture of Nicky Ajose on a loan extension and Michael Jones signing his new contract meant the air at Gigg Lane had a positive vibe. Bury's impressive run of form had catapulted them from mid table to 4th place in a matter of games, but a win today was essential to stay on the ascent.
Bury were awarded a penalty on 4 minutes after a foul from Chris Barker on Nicky Ajose, but unusually for Ryan Lowe, he saw his spot kick saved at the left post by Glen Morris.
Yellow card for Bury on 5 minutes - Damien Mozika
Steven Schumacher came close to taking the lead for Bury on 21 minutes after some clever work on the left wing from Michael Jones, who gave the ball to Ajose to cross. Schumacher was left with space on the edge of the box to volley a shot at goal, only for Morris to palm it away.
GOAL! Bury took the lead on 40 minutes after a precision free kick from Schumacher outside the box met the head of Joe Skarz and skimmed into the bottom corner of the net.
Bury 1 Southend 0
Ryan Lowe tried his luck from distance on 44 minutes but saw Glen Morris gather the ball into his chest.
One minute of added time was indicated by the fourth official as Cameron Belford cleared the ball up the field.
Time was soon called on a first half that saw lots of slipping and sliding on a wet Gigg Lane pitch, a saved penalty and a goal. Bury had continued to pressurise the Southend back line after the penalty miss and got their reward just before the break.
The play between both sides was scrappy at best, with both sides fighting against a difficult playing surface.
Half Time - Bury 1 Southend 0
Barry Corr had a clear chance to bring a goal back for Southend on 53 minutes after getting up well to a cross from Ryan Hall on the left, but his free header in front of goal went over the bar.
A moment of madness on 54 minutes saw Southend scrapping at the goal line to claim an equaliser but it was Efe Sodje who eventually cleared the danger.
Substitution for Bury on 61 minutes - Richie Branagan on for Cameron Belford
Substitution for Southend on 66 minutes - Louis Soares on for Ryan Hall
Substitution for Bury on 69 minutes - Lenell John-Lewis on for Nicky Ajose
Bury became progressively more defensive to assist young debutant Branagan's net, but were still breaking away with the ball on occasion.
Substitution for Southend on 77 minutes - Nat Jarvis on for Blair Sturrock
Yellow card for Southend on 80 minutes - Michael Timlin
Substitution for Bury on 83 minutes - Andy Haworth on for Michael Jones
Southend were not giving in without a fight and were constantly pressing on Bury to make a mistake at the back, but the Shakers kept taking the ball forward and frustrating them.
Nat Jarvis tried his luck at the near post on 86 minutes after nipping into the box, but he hit the side netting.
Substitution for Southend on 88 minutes - Waide Fairhurst on for Graham Coughlan
Five minutes of additional time were indicated by the fourth official as Bury carried on their defending.
Bury's grit and determination saw them take the spoils as the final whistle was eventually blown. The substitution of Cameron Belford saw Richie Branagan thrown in at the deep end, but the defenders in front of him saw out the result by keeping the ball away from their own box.
Full Time - Bury 1 Southend 0
The Shakers' unbeaten run has now extended to eight games after three consecutive league wins, and they jumped up a spot into the automatic promotion places in third.
Southend now sit in 18th place after their third consecutive league loss.
Bury have a long trip to Aldershot next weekend, and will be looking to extending their fine run of form.
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