A scrappy game was settled by a scrappy own goal as promotion-chasing Bury took all three points home from the One Call Stadium with a 1-0 win this afternoon.
Mansfield Town had gone five unbeaten at home, but today failed to find any sort of rhythm, and were sunk on 21 minutes when Chris Hussey’s left wing free kick went inside the far post off Ryan Tafazolli and Nathan Cameron.
Tafazolli was credited with an own goal, though the Stags later claimed the match DVD showed it to be Cameron’s goal.
The Stags were relieved when debut-making Tom eaves had a goal ruled out for offside on 36 minutes.
With both sides closing each other down in energetic fashion, both keepers were rarely troubled, though Nick Pope did have to make sure a long range Jack Thomas shot didn’t bounce over him just before the break with a last gasp tip-over.
Pope did make a good save with his legs to deny Reggie Lambe from six yards on 66 minutes – Stags’ best moment.
But on a freezing cold afternoon, there was little to warm the home fans as Bury had just enough class to edge home in the end.
However, even without hitting a higher gear, the Stags matched the Shakers better than they had in the 4-1 home hammering last season and 2-0 defeat at Gigg Lane just after Christmas.
And Tuesday’s home clash with AFC Wimbledon offers an immediate chance to bounce back as they begin the final 10 games of the season countdown still looking for the two or three wins they need to make sure of safety.
The other bonus on the day was that other results meant they kept the eight point gap from the bottom two, despite losing.
Mansfield sprang a surprise when ‘injured’ winger Junior Brown was named in the side to face Bury at One Call Stadium.
Manager Adam Murray had said on Thursday that Brown damaged his hamstring at Cheltenham last weekend and was unlikely to figure in either of this week’s home games.
But Brown was named today in a side showing one change with youngster Jack Thomas replacing Simon Heslop in midfield.
Bury gave a debut to Bolton striker Tom Eaves, who they signed on loan last night, and he had an immaculate afternoon looking big, strong and mobile.
Tafazolli gave the ball away straight from kick off, but Eaves’ first touch saw the ball run to Pidgeley.
A frantic start saw Elder win a corner on six minutes, Pope confidently claiming it at the far post.
He also grabbed a Beevers cross at full stretch with Clements challenging.
On 14 minutes Adams floated in a free kick that saw Cameron out-jump Tafazolli but nod harmlessly over.
Bury were finally getting out of their own half after easily soaking up all Stags could throw at them in the first 15 minutes.
On17 minutes they won their first corner on the right, taken by Hussey, it was eventually claimed by Pidgeley after a couple of headed challenges.
But Bury swept in front after Ravenhill conceded a free kick just outside the box on the left.
Hussey arrowed a kick through a crowded box, clipping players from both sides before it ended up finding its way just inside the far post.
Cameron claimed it, though the goal was put down as a Tafazolli own goal at the time. Doubtless it will be settled by Monday.
Stags’ reply was a speculative Brown effort from 25 yards, on target but easy for Pope.
Riley then pulled a low shot wide at the other end as the game began to hot up.
Another Tafazolli error saw him stumbled in possession and cough up the ball to Eaves, but an offside flag spared any blushes.
Mansfield’s second corner on 29 minutes was easily headed clear.
Brown forced a third on 32 minutes, which was also cleared.
Thomas put the ball back in and Brown jumped well to win it in the box, only to be tackled well by McNulty as he eyed up a shot.
Stags had a let-off on 36 minutes as Adams floated the ball to the far post where Eaves buried a volleyed finish high into the net, only see the offside flag up.
Mansfield swept upfield and Beevers was too high from distance with a hopeful effort.
Thomas committed a foul after giving the ball away to earn his fifth booking for the club on 41 minutes.
A series of crunching tackles in the middle of the park ended with Beevers going down off the ball and fingers pointed at Soares.
Brown tried to get Lambe away with a lofted forward ball, but Cameron was strong and defended superbly.
Great footwork by Adams saw him skip past two tackles and fired a low shot inches wide.
In the second of two added minutes, Thomas’ hopeful effort from 30 yards bounced in front of Pope and almost looped up and over him, the keeper turning it over at the last minute for a corner.
Stags went 4-4-2 within four minutes of the restart, Kee joining Oliver up front and Thomas taken off.
Cameron rose at the far post to head a right wing corner back into the mix on 57 minutes, Pidgeley there to reach up and gather.
Tutte then robbed Ravenhill in the middle and ran forward to feed Eaves for a shot at Pidgeley.
Ravenhill hauled down Soares to prevent a Bury break on the hour and earn a booking.
Monakana took over from Brown on 65 minutes.
A minute later Stags were almost level as Oliver’s backheel to the left of the goal set up Lambe for a low six yard finish that Pope did well to block with his legs.
A brilliant turn by the immaculate Eaves took him into the box and it took the combined efforts of Riley and Tafazolli to desperately stop him finishing.
Bury indulged in some time wasting as Cameron went down and asked for treatment when he could have gone off the pitch.
Ordered off he sprinted off to boos from the stands, the referee then holding the game up to more boos while he was looked at, returning with a bandage round his head.
Adams tested Pidgeley from 25 yards on 74 minutes, the ball turned away for the first of two corners.
The Oliver turned to lift a shot at goal that Pope grabbed high above his head. Adams was just over the angle at the other end soon after.
Cameron got in the way of a Kee shot as he turned on a Monakana cross, then Clements had a low 20 yard shot deflect wide as Stags turned up the pressure.
Monakana gave the ball away cheaply as Stags were forced to concede another corner, Beevers eventually hooking clear for a throw.
Bury continued to waste as much time as possible and use gamesmanship to the annoyance of the home fans.
Only four minutes were added, Tutte low and wide in the first minute of those.
At the other end Oliver won the chase for a high ball, but he was well wide of the goal and, although he managed to lift the ball over the advancing Pope, it was always going to bounce wide.
Bury saw out the rest of the minutes in a professional manner to hang on to what they’d got.
STAGS: Pidgeley, Riley, Tafazolli, Ravenhill, Lambe (Bingham 73), Beevers, Thomas (Kee 49), Brown (Monakana 65), Oliver, Elder, Clements. Subs not used: Studer, Sutton, Rhead, Heslop.
BURY: Pope, McNulty, Tutte, Etuhu, Adams (Sedgwick 80), Mayor (Jones 59), Hussey, Eaves (Hope 84), Soares, Riley, Cameron. Subs not used: Lowe, O’Brien, Lainton, Shaw.
REFEREE: Darren Sheldrake of Surrey.
ATTENDANCE: 2,868 (411 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Chris Clements.