CHRIS Casper said his squad are playing for their livelihoods as their chances of survival in League Two took another hammer blow at Gigg Lane.

A single goal from County's Tcham N'Toya was enough to sink the Shakers - who are now 16 games without a victory and are just three away from equalling the worst run of results in the club's history, set back in 1911.

Bury had looked capable of earning at least a point until the moment the Congolese striker stooped to head home in the 39th minute, a strike which could have major ramifications on the club's bid to escape relegation.

The pressure is building on Casper and his side - but the Gigg Lane chief said he should not need to remind them what is potentially at stake should the club make the drop to Conference football next season.

"They are playing for their careers, we are all doing that," Casper said. "They are playing for their mortgages and the clothes on their back.

"You shouldn't have to even mention those things. It is disrespectful to the players.

"If they don't recognise that, then there really is something wrong."

Next week's trip to fellow strugglers Boston now takes on added significance, and the manager had promised changes to his side in a bid to coax an elusive win.

"Players need to step forward now, there is only so much I can do," Casper said.

"I will take responsibility. It is my team that I pick, but the players that are picked now must stand up and show their true character."

Casper handed debuts to French midfielder Will Mocquet and youth teamer Dale Stephens on the wings and both did enough to suggest they could retain their place for the visit to York Street next week.

Just two minutes in, Mocquet was at the centre of the action - miscuing his volley from Richie Baker's left wing cross.

But the Frenchman's efforts went closer the longer the first half wore on, having a goal-bound shot blocked by Jason Lee, and forcing Kevin Pilkington into a sprawling save with a curling right-footed drive. Lawrie Dudfield hit the side-netting after getting the wrong side of his marker Tom Kennedy and Gary Silk fired just wide.

But Bury looked comfortable as the half drew to a close, and they came inches away from taking a deserved lead when Darren Kempson hit the outside of the goal with a header at the far post.

So it should have come as little surprise to those who have watched the Shakers this season that County took the lead against the run of play on 39 minutes. Ian Ross' corner on the right was flicked on by Matt Somner and diverted into the net by the unmarked N'Toya.

It took Bury a while to recover their poise after the break, and it could have got worse right away when N'Toya was afforded far too much space on the edge of the area, only to drag his shot straight at Andy Warrington.

Even though they regained their superiority in terms of possession, Bury still failed to create any meaningful opportunities. Jeers once again greeted the final whistle. Inexperienced or not, the Shakers are running out of time to prove they are good enough to remain in the Football League.

Shakers: Warrington 6; Scott 7; Kennedy 5; Challinor 6; Bishop 5 (Youngs 80); Baker 6 (Wroe 72); Kennedy 7; Kempson 7; Mocquet 6; Hurst 6; Stephens 6 (Pugh 86).

Subs not used: Fitzgerald; Parrish.

Referee: Ray Lee (Essex) Attendance: 2,310.