A SECOND-half strike from Tom Soares in front of a packed away end at Prenton Park clinched automatic promotion for Bury.

Soares fired home the only goal of the game from six yards in the 61st minute to trigger wild scenes as the Shakers bench joined fans from behind the goal on to the pitch to celebrate.

Moments earlier, Morecambe had taken the lead at home to Southend, who needed to win to deny Bury a chance to move into the top three.

The Shrimpers eventually lost 3-1 on the Lancashire coast as they dropped from third place to fifth in the League Two table.

Bury did not have it all their own way against relegated Tranmere, who were eager to put on a show in their final game in the Football League for the foreseeable future.

Max Power had a goal ruled out for handball in the first half as the home side tried to capitalise on a nervy start from the visitors.

But the Shakers started to come back into the game just before the break as Danny Mayor hit the stanchion behind the Tranmere goal with a 12-yard strike.

Owen Fon Williams then made a fine double save, palming away a Soares shot before getting down to gather Mayor’s follow-up.

Bury manager David Flitcroft made a double substitution at half time, sending on Danny Nardiello and Craig Jones for Hallam Hope and Andrew Tutte.

And as results started to swing in Bury’s favour elsewhere the attacking switch paid dividends.

Mayor and Hussey combined down the left before Hussey found Soares with a pull-back on the edge of the six-yard box.

He initially stumbled over the ball but showed composure to stab his effort past Fon Williams.

Once the Bury fans and substitutes had been ushered from the pitch it was then all hands to the pump as Chris Sedgwick - playing his final game for the Shakers - came on for Ryan Lowe to add an extra body in midfield.

And while Tranmere provided a few nervous moments, the Shakers defence held firm, most notably Adam El-Abd, who produced a great block to deny Power a shooting chance at the death.

After four anxious minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle sparked further wild scenes as the 2,300 Shakers supporters poured on the pitch to celebrate promotion to League One after two seasons in the bottom tier.

TRANMERE (4-3-1-2): Fon Williams; Ihiekwe, Donacien, Dugdale, Hill; Power, Jennings, Donnelly (Omotola 77); Koumas (Kirby 90); Odejayi, Hume (Jago 90).

Not used: Pilling, Laird, Stockton, Gumbs.

BURY (4-4-2): Pope; Riley, Cameron, El-Abd, Hussey; Soares, Etuhu, Tutte (Jones 46), Mayor; Hope (Nardiello 46), Lowe (Sedgwick 66).

Not used: Lainton, Adams, O'Brien, Rose.

Referee: Simon Hooper.

Attendance: 7,518 (visiting 2,300).