RICHIE Barker was delighted with a brilliant win which mathematically assured his side of League One football next season.
The Bury manager reckoned the victory over the play-off chasing Magpies was one of the best of the campaign.
A superb David Worrall strike, a double from in-form Mike Grella and substitute Mark Carrington’s killer goal deep into injury time saw the Shakers end Saturday in 12th place, 12 points above the drop zone with only two games left to play.
Their win also damaged County’s promotion aspirations with the Meadow Lane club dropping out of the top six into seventh.
“It was one of the best performances of the season for lots of different reasons,” said manager Barker. “We were fantastic against a team who were in the top six and I’m sure the game was a superb advert for League One football.
“There were four goals, a sending off (Bury right-back Andrai Jones) – it could have been 7-6. I thought we passed the ball extremely well, but we also did the ugly stuff very effectively.”
It might have been a different story had Lee Hughes converted a gilt-edged chance which came his way with only 16 seconds on the clock.
Bury were caught napping from the kick off with the excellent Alan Judge raiding down the right and when his cross found Hughes unmarked six yards out, the striker looked certain to score, but his header went inches wide of the target.
Within seconds, Bury were ruing their own misfortune as Grella’s deft header put Shaun Harrad through on goal, but Magpies goalkeeper Stuart Nelson smothered his shot.
Barker’s men went on to dominate possession as well as frustrate the home side and they richly deserved their opening goal when it came on 42 minutes – and what a goal it was.
Grella picked up the ball deep inside his own half and neat footwork saw him go round Jon Harley before threading the ball to Worrall who fired the ball past Nelson from 23 yards.
The Magpies were level, however, in fortunate circumstances within a minute of the restart when Judge’s cross cannoned past Bury keeper Jonathan Bond off first Giles Coke and then Efe Sodje. Barker’s men were in no mood to surrender their superiority and when Coke fed Grella in the penalty area, the New Yorker produced a carbon copy of the goal which sank Bournemouth seven days previously, by dinking the ball over Nelson to give his side a 2-1 lead after 49 minutes.
It was no more than they deserved when they went 3-1 up on 67 minutes as Coke pulled off a sublime piece of skill Lionel Messi would have been proud of to beat Kieron Freeman on the left before squaring to Grella whose deflected shot beat Nelson comprehensively.
Notts County rallied with substitute Mike Edwards heading home from Judge’s corner with 11 minutes remaining and when Jones was dismissed for his second bookable offence two minutes later, it was all hands to the pump to prevent Keith Curle’s men rescuing a point.
With County over-committed to attack, it was inevitable they would leave the door open at the back, and so it proved as Carrington out ran Freeman deep into stoppage time to kill the game off with Bury’s fourth.
NOTTS COUNTY: Nelson 6, Freeman 5, Chilvers 6 (Adebola 6), Stewart 6, Sheehan 5 (Sam 6), Judge 7, J Hughes 6, Bishop 6, Harley 6, L Hughes 6, Bogdanovic 6 (Edwards 6).
Unused subs: Waite, Mahon.
BURY: Bond 6, Jones 6, Clarke 7 Sodje 7, Skarz 7, Worrall 8, Schumacher 7, Coke 9, Sweeney 7 (Hughes 6), Grella 8 (Carrington 7), Harrad 7 (Bishop 6).
Unused subs: Branagan, Elford-Alliyu.
Referee: Robert Madley.
Attendance: 6,732 (464 visiting).