GOAKEEPER Rob Lainton made a shock return to Bury to help them end a club-record losing streak as they held Fleetwood to a goalless draw on Boxing Day.

The Shakers lost their previous 12 league games and had not managed a clean sheet in 24 matches, but the 27-year-old answered the call and the move came up trumps.

Lainton left Gigg Lane in the summer following the end of his contract after an injury-plagued three-year stay. He had not played for 14 months but head coach Chris Brass made the bold call to throw him in after the free agent signed a pay-as-you-play deal.

And the ex-Bolton keeper looked surprisingly sharp, making a vital stop in the second half to deny Cian Bolger.

“He just wants to get his career back on track and he understands what Bury Football Club is,” said Brass.

“I kept it under wraps and he played for us behind closed doors in the week. He has been working hard to get fit and his arrival has given the lads a bit of a lift.

“It’s pleasing he has just slotted in. It’s massive to me, that clean sheet. You can win games on the back of clean sheets.”

The enormity of the point was outlined by the sheer jubilation of the 785 travelling Bury fans who celebrated climbing out of the relegation zone with the draw.

The game itself offered little in the attacking third. The Shakers fielded four teenagers as injuries continued to blight the squad but each held their own against the Cod Army, who were unbeaten in their previous eight outings.

George Miller had Bury’s best chance of the game midway through the second half but he was denied by Alex Cairns after blitzing the offside trap with his blistering pace.

Fleetwood’s best chance fell to Bobby Grant late on with a 25-yard free-kick but fortunately the effort came crashing back off the post – maybe a hint that Bury’s luck is about to turn.

But Brass was not getting carried away by the point and admitted there is still a long way to go before the season can be turned around.

He said: “That’s not what is going to get us to where we are going to get, but it’s a start and an endeavour that I expect and the fans expect.

“We had a number of chances today, we have not camped in and just tried to play for a 0-0. We have had a go and on another day we might have had one or two.”

Brass was forced to make a late change to his injury-stricken squad when Niall Maher pulled up in the warm-up.

Winger Danny Mayor was restricted to the bench and top scorer James Vaughan missed out, but the Shakers boss is hopeful the trio will be back for the clash with Bradford on New Year’s Eve.

“Niall just pulled up in the warm up and we had to make a decision, which was nice to do at quarter to three,” Brass joked. “I spoke to Vaughany on Christmas Day and he wanted to play. He is gutted but the bigger picture is that James Vaughan needed to miss today to get through the next three or 23 games.

“He had a tight thigh and he just couldn’t shake it off.

“Danny Mayor was quite tight as well so he just needed the rest as well.”

Maher’s withdrawal meant that 16-year-old Callum Styles was handed his full debut in central midfield.

The youth team player joined Jacob Bedeau, who turned 17 on Christmas Eve, in dragging the average age of the starting line up to 24 years old.

With this youthful side, Brass says he must be careful to not overload the younger lads with too much game time to avoid any burn out.

He said: “There’s a lot of good young footballers at this football club so it’s important that myself, the staff and the senior players round these players to reach their maximum potential.

“These lads need dipping in and dipping out.

“They will be absolutely goosed after their performance today.”

Match ratings

Bury (4-3-3): Lainton 7; Soares 7, Kay 7, Bedeau 7, Leigh 7; Styles 6, Etuhu 7, Burgess 7, Hope 5; Pope 6, G Miller 8.

Unused subs: Williams, Mayor, Dudley, Walker, Cooney.

Fleetwood (3-4-3): Cairns; Pond, Bolger, Davis (Hunter 45); McLaughlin, Grant, Glendon, Bell; Ball, Amadi-Holloway (Nirennold 45), Long (Cole 69).

Unused subs: Neal, Jonsson, Sowerby, Jakubiak.

Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham).