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FULL TIME: Bury 2 York 1
BURY ensured they would not start 2014 in the League Two relegation places after hanging on to earn a vital win against fellow strugglers York at the JD Stadium.
Early goals from Anton Forrester and Nathan Cameron put the Shakers in a commanding position.
And while substitute Michael Coulson pulled one back for York in the second half, a dogged rear-guard action handed David Flitcroft his first victory as manager.
Bury looked set to blow away their fellow League Two strugglers with a blistering start to the match.
Forrester stormed into the box to finish off a flowing move with only 43 seconds on the clock. Chris Sedgwick started it with a clever reverse pass to put Danny Mayor in behind the York defence and his low cross from the right was met perfectly by the on-loan Blackburn striker for his sixth goal of the season and first since September 29.
The Shakers doubled their advantage in the 18th minute when the Minstermen’s keeper, Aaron McCarey, dropped a tame Daniel Nardiello header at the feet of Bury defender Cameron, who tapped it home.
Nardiello should have made it 3-0 on 27 minutes, slicing a Forrester pull-back wide.
But to York’s credit, they slowly played themselves back into the game after getting to grips with David Flitcroft’s attacking 3-4-3 formation.
The visitors failed to create any clear-cut chances, but did make their presence felt with some tasty challenges, forcing referee Scott Mathieson to dish out yellow cards to York’s Lewis Montrose and Elliott Whitehouse, as well as Bury’s Tommy Miller.
York continued their improvement in the second half following a double substitution by boss Nigel Worthington at half-time.
Coulson - one of his introductions - had two decent shots on target before finally pulling one back for the visitors on 73 minutes, tapping in at the back post after a deflected shot from fellow sub Ryan Jarvis fell at his feet.
Bury had their own chances, with Richard Hinds’ header drifting just wide and Forrester hitting the post from a tight angle.
But Flitcroft’s men spent the final 10 minutes camped in their own half and kept out a determined York with a dominant display from goalkeeper Brian Jensen and some desperate last-ditched defending.
The visitors’ enthusiasm did get the better of them at times, with Lanre Oyebanjo’s dive in the box earning one of four second-half bookings for the Minstermen.
And while they put the Shakers under serious pressure, late substitute Shaun Harrad should have put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time as the striker was put clean through on goal but put his shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
That miss was all forgotten at the final whistle, however, as Flitcroft’s debut victory as Bury manager saw them jump out of the relegation places, leapfrogging York and moving up to 20th in the League Two table.