IT was another tale of missed chances as Bury fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat away to Scunthorpe United tonight.

Luke Williams opened the scoring for the Iron before Kyle Wootton doubled the advantage at the start of the second half.

Substitute Tom Pope pulled one back with his seventh goal of the season but it was the opportunities spurned that left manager David Flitcroft ruing what could have been.

To add insult to injury, Kelvin Etuhu was sent off deep into added time for his second caution – both for fouls on Luke Williams.

The Bury boss named an unchanged side for the first time in two months as he searched for back-to-back away wins for the first time since October.

Bury created the first chance of the game in the 10th minute from Chris Hussey's in-swinging corner. However, Luke Daniels got his positioning spot on to save Peter Clarke's thumping header.

The home side were unable to stop the Shakers' early free-flowing football as Tom Soares came close to converting Craig Jones' cross, before Etuhu drove a low shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

But against the run of play the Iron snatched the lead as Williams expertly found the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

However, Bury reacted positively and cranked up the intensity of their attacking play.

Saturday's match-winner Mayor came inches away from his second in as many games with a thunderous 20-yard strike, before Leon Clarke and John O'Sullivan both headed Hussey crosses wide.

As the first half drew to an end it was the hosts that should have gone in two up but Chris Neal made a find save with his leg to deny Wootton from point-blank range.

Lacking the clinical edge in the final third Flitcroft introduced target-man Pope at half time in place of Dan Gardner as he reshuffled to a 4-4-2 formation.

And four minutes after the restart Hussey burst down the left but was denied by Daniels at full-stretch and O'Sullivan turned the rebound over the bar.

The Shakers were punished for that miss in the 54th minute when Williams, who was at the heart of every Scunthorpe move, slid through Paddy Madden and he squared for Wootton to tap in unmarked at the back post to double their lead.

Sean Clare was introduced before the restart and missed a glorious opportunity with his first touch when he lifted Hussey's cut-back over the bar.

But Pope did halve the deficit in the 62nd minute when he powered a header home from Hussey's corner.

Neal had his moment to shine moments later when he was forced into two smart saves to keep out Hakeeb Adelakun and Madden.

But the hosts, desperate to maintain their slight play-off hopes, withstood all of the Shakers' late pressure which ended with Etuhu picking up a second yellow card deep into added time to add to the misery.


BURY 4-2-3-1

CHRIS NEAL 7 CRAIG JONES 6 PETER CLARKE 6 CIAN BOLGER 6 CHRIS HUSSEY 8 TOM SOARES 5 KELVIN ETUHU 6 JOHN O'SULLIVAN 6 DANNY MAYOR 7 DAN GARDNER 5 LEON CLARKE 6   Subs: Tom Pope 7 (for Dan Gardner 45), Clare 6 (for John O'Sullivan 55), Reece Brown 6 (for Tom Soares 73). Not used: Ruddy, Sedgwick, Lowe, Rose. Scunthorpe: (4-4-2): Daniels, J. Clarke, Wallace, Mirfin, Townsend, Adelakun, Williams, Dawson, Bishop, Madden, Wotton.   Subs: King (for Wootton 75), Not used: Anyon, Laird, Vose, Hopper, Burdett, Sutton Referee:  Sebastian Stockbridge (Tyne).

Attendance:  3,188