DAVID Flitcroft issued an apology to the Bury supporters after his side fell to the club's worst defeat in 27 years at Coventry on Saturday.

For the first time since April 1989, the Shakers shipped six goals without reply as they continued to slide down the League One table.

Chris Stokes, Baily Cargill and James Maddison gave Coventry a dream start as they raced into an early 3-0 lead.

John Fleck added a fourth on the stroke of half-time before Adam Armstrong netted two in as many minutes in the second half to wrap up the three points.

After the game, the Bury boss said sorry to the 389 fans who made the trip to the Ricoh Arena and promised to get things back on track as they fell to their sixth defeat in eight league matches.

“The first thing is to apologise to the fans,” he said. “Apologise for the levels of the performance and the unacceptable way we have conceded.

“The first 15 minutes it was a whirlwind. Two set-pieces really did surprise me against this Coventry team and you're on the back foot after that.

“The way we represented here was not the way I like my Bury team to represent the supporters, the board and the football club.

“We have got to take the responsibility as a group and we have got to take that on and understand that it won't happen and it can't happen again.

“It's not a disappointment, it's a feeling of emptiness inside but I'll come out fighting."

Stokes was left completely unmarked from Joe Cole's corner to volley in the opener after only four minutes.

Former England international Cole registered his second assist of the game nine minutes later when Cargill turned his deep free kick over the line.

Bury were undone by another set piece in the 16th minute when a short free kick was played to Maddison in the middle of the Shakers' half and he drilled the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

Flitcroft had seen enough and sent on striker Ryan Lowe for holding midfielder Kelvin Etuhu as he switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

The change gave Bury a brief boost as Andrew Tutte got on the end of a fine move but his shot was palmed away by former Shakers stopper Reice Charles-Cook.

Out of nothing, Fleck fired in a fourth from 35-yards after picking up the ball, turning and rifling a shot into the bottom corner on the stroke of half time.

The woeful defending forced Flitcroft into making his final two substitutes at the break, as Reece Brown and Chris Hussey were replaced by Peter Clarke and Danny Pugh.

Two minutes after the restart Leon Clarke spurned a glorious opportunity, volleying over from six yards.

But Coventry were in cruise control, with Cole rolling back the years and dictating the game.

Bury failed to get near the attacking-midfielder and he fed Armstrong in the 69th minute and the forward duly slotted it past keeper Ian Lawlor.

Sky Blues striker Armstrong, on-loan from Newcastle, bagged his second in the 71st minute when the defence parted and he strolled through and shot straight under Lawlor's dive.

The hosts toyed with the visitors late on, stroking the ball around the pitch at their own leisure before the final whistle put the Shakers out of their misery and they returned home red faced, having fallen one place to 16th in the League One table.


Match ratings

BURY (4-5-1): Lawlor 3; Riley 4, Cameron 4, Brown 3 (P Clarke 45 6), Hussey 3 (Pugh 45 5); O'Sullivan 4, Soares 4, Etuhu 4 (Lowe 22, 6), Tutte 4, Mayor 4; L Clarke 5.

Not used: Ruddy, Mellis, Jones, Miller.

Coventry (4-2-3-1): Charles-Cook; Ricketts, Cargill, Stephens, Stokes; Vincelot, Fleck; Cole, Murphy (Lameiras 71), Maddison (Rose 73); Armstrong.

Not used: Burge, O'Brien, Ramage, Antoine-Fortune, Henderson.

Goals: Coventry – Stokes 4, Cargill 13, Maddison 16, Fleck 43, Armstrong 68 & 70.

Yellow cards: Bury – Soares 28, Brown 41, Lowe 58, Tutte 82.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

Attendance: 11,024 (389 visiting).

STAR MAN: Ryan Lowe – The best of a bad bunch. Lowe ran himself into the ground following his introduction from the substitutes bench in the 22nd minute. He worked the channels well and held the ball up to get other players involved. The 37-year-old seemed to inspire and motivate those around him, which was much needed after such an horrific start.