IT wasn’t clear at the final whistle, but the financial storm clouds brewing over Gigg Lane could well have been a factor in Bury’s below-par performance.
On the face of it, Kevin Lisbie’s ruthless finishing and Orient goalkeeper Ryan Allsopp’s inspired form at the other end looked to have been the only real difference between the two sides.
Lisbie – the former Charlton forward – showed his class to convert two of his three chances on the day, while Shakers striker Andy Bishop was twice denied by finger-tip saves.
Bishop may have done better with at least one of his headed chances, but the fact Bury manager Kevin Blackwell had rushed him back from injury to start for the first time in seven matches didn’t protect the striker from criticism.
“The chances that we’ve missed today are a crime,” said Blackwell.
“As a striker, you cannot ask for more than the ball where it was and you’ve only got to finish it off.”
Unlike Bishop, Lisbie needed no second invitation to find the net.
He expertly slotted home Orient’s only real chance of the first half in the 31st minute after ghosting into the box to convert David Mooney’s defence-splitting pass.
At the other end, Orient defender Mathieu Baudry made two improvised clearances, heading David Worrall’s cross-shot from under his crossbar and chesting a Zac Thompson shot behind for a corner.
Lisbie was again the main threat after the break, with Bury stopper Trevor Carson saving with his legs after the Orient striker had been put through in the 47th minute.
But the 34-year-old forward soon doubled Orient’s advantage, poking home Dean Cox’s near-post corner 10 minutes after the restart.
His second goal came hot on the heels of Bury’s best chance of the match, in the 52nd minute, when Allsopp denied Bishop what looked to have been a certain goal.
The 29-year-old striker beat his marker to head Peter Sweeney's deep cross at goal from the centre of the six yard box, but Allsopp instinctively stuck out an arm to tip it behind.
Orient then stormed up field to effectively settle the match, although Bishop was unlucky not to at least pull a goal back for Bury after going close with another header 25 minutes from time.
After the match, the Shakers manager admitted he had rushed the striker back from a heel injury after becoming concerned by Bury’s lack of finishing power in recent matches.
“I felt we needed a target man who has quality, which is ironic, as he’s missed a couple of chances,” said Blackwell.
“My alternative was Lenny (Lenell John-Lewis), who gives us energy and enthusiasm, but not necessarily the quality that we’re looking for. It’s a fine balance.”
It later transpired that events off the pitch could well have played a part in Bury’s lack-lustre showing, with many of Blackwell’s young loan signings told that they would definitely have to return to their clubs in January following the Football League’s decision to impose a transfer embargo.
Quite how that will impact Bury’s revival under Blackwell is yet to be seen, but Saturday’s setback ensured they would have to wait to escape the drop zone after slipping back to third bottom on goal difference, still just one point from safety.