Bury 3 Northampton Town 0
Goals from strikers James Vaughan and George Miller earned Bury all three points at Gigg Lane in their search for League One survival.
A goal just three minutes into the game from Vaughan was the beginning of a very dominant display and entertaining half for the Shakers.
Despite a positive start to the second half, the away side were unable to find a way back into the game. Miller added to the scoreline with 18 minutes of normal time remaining, and Vaughan smashed in his 24th of the season to leave Lee Clark’s side in a healthy position going into the last game of the season.
Lee Clark made one change to his starting selection after the goalless draw with Bolton, with Ryan Lowe replacing Scott Burgess behind the two strikers in a 5-2-1-2 formation. Nathan Cameron returned to training on Friday after recovering from a long-term injury, and was included amongst the substitutes after eight months out.
The Shakers could not have asked for a better start to the game as Vaughan capitalised on a bouncing ball from Joe Murphy’s kick upfield, and warded off the Northampton defence before finishing in style across the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Marc Richards’ header down to Brendan Maloney almost gave the visitors a way back into the game moments later, but the latter’s first time shot was fired over.
Clark’s side dominated possession in the first half on a sunny afternoon at Gigg Lane, but chances came few and far between for both sides after the first ten minutes of the game.
Matty Taylor found the target from a free kick on the 31st minute, however, Murphy bounced back from his error against Rochdale to expertly tip the ball around his left-hand post.
Four minutes later, Ryan Lowe was willing to shoot from distance as his looping shot dipped, but not enough to trouble David Cornell’s goal.
The Shakers went into the break the happier of the two sides as they looked worthy of the 1-0 lead.
A testing cross from Zander Diamond piled the pressure on the Bury defence just three minutes into the second half as Murphy nervously pushed the cross away from his top corner.
Greg Leigh continued his impressive form down the left wing during the game, however, his cross on the 67th minute was charged down, and his second was beaten away by the visitor’s defender before Taylor Moore stepped up from the edge of the penalty area to smash the ball over the crossbar.
On 72 minutes, the Shakers put the game to bed through substitute George Miller. Andrew Tutte’s corner was inch perfect for Cameron Burgess, who headed it against the crossbar, and the ball dropped for Miller to rush in and double the scoreline.
Vaughan chose to go for the spectacular in additional time as he was allowed space and time down the left wing before cutting onto his right foot but fired over.
Two minutes later on the 93rd minute, Vaughan was at it again bullying the visiting defence before smashing the ball past Cornell and into the top corner of the net.
A late substitution allowed the home supporters to show their appreciation for their top goalscorer James Vaughan, and welcome Nathan Cameron back from his long-term injury for a last-minute appearance.
Clark’s side travel to Southend United next Sunday for the last game of the season, and to confirm their place in League One next season.
Bury starting line-up: Murphy, Moore, Barnett, Kay, C. Burgess, Leigh, Tutte, Caddis, Lowe (S. Burgess 84), Pope (G. Miller 65), Vaughan (Cameron 90+3)
Unused subs: Williams, Hulme, Walker, Mackreth
Northampton Town starting line-up: Cornell, Moloney (Beautyman 80), Eardley (McDonald 45), Diamond, Nyatanga, Phillips, Taylor, McWilliams, P. Anderson, Richards, Revell (K. Anderson 63)
Unused subs: Smith, Boateng, McCourt, Laciofano
Attendance: 5,190 (772 travelling supporters)