MANAGERLESS Bury were sent tumbling out of the Capital One League Cup in the first round despite a spirited comeback at home to Middlesbrough.
Mark Hughes's first goal for the club midway through the second half gave the Shakers hope of at least forcing Boro into extra time after Tony Mowbray’s side looked to have been cruising at 2-0 up.
The Championship outfit went into the break a goal to the good thanks to a 30-yard Marvin Emnes special, before Emmanuel Ledesma pounced on a rebound from Nicky Bailey’s fierce 60th minute strike.
It seemed Boro were home and hosed but when Hughes rose highest at the back post to head home captain Steven Schumacher’s inswinging corner just minutes after Ledesma had scored, the Gigg Lane faithful sensed an upset.
Yet the Bury players, led by caretaker boss Peter Shitliff, were unable to respond, possibly sapped after a rigourous pre-season was thrown into turmoil with the departure of manager Richie Barker on Tuesday.
Boro keeper Jason Steele did well to turn new loan signing Mark Cullen's long-range effort behind for a corner, but the Gigg Lane men failed to put Boro under any serious pressure and Efe Sodje capped a difficult opener to the season by getting himself sent off in injury time.
Referee Mick Russell, who was already unpopular with the home fans after awarding Boro a debatable free-kick in the build up their opener, adjudged Sodje had purposefully elbowed Luke Williams after leading with his arm in an aerial challenge.