JAMES Vaughan’s 18th goal of the season secured Bury a crucial 1-0 win at home against League One relegation rivals Swindon.

The tight encounter was decided by a first-half penalty that was expertly converted by the in-form front man.

Vaughan’s strike – his eighth in five games – was accompanied by Bury’s first clean sheet in eight matches.

The three points moved the Shakers above Swindon in the table, but they remain fourth bottom, in the relegation places, after John Sheridan's Oldham also won.

Head coach Chris Brass made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 at fellow strugglers Shrewsbury last weekend, switching to a more resolute 5-3-2 formation.

Joe Murphy was handed his debut in goal, ahead of Rob Lainton, while centre-back Leon Barnett bolstered the five-man defence, making his first appearance in almost three months.

Jacob Mellis and Scott Burgess were drafted into a solid midfield three that also included Reece Brown.

And it was Brown who came the closest to opening the scoring when he drilled a 30-yard free-kick narrowly wide of the post.

Ben Gladwin flicked a header over Murphy’s bar soon after – but neither side could get a firm grip on the game as the midfield battle took centre stage.

Bury began to turn the screw as the clock ticked towards half time and Greg Leigh had an effort pushed around the post by Lawrence Vigouroux

In the 38th minute referee Mark Brown spotted a pull on Tom Pope in the Swindon box and awarded the Shakers a penalty.

And Vaughan smashed the spot kick straight down the middle to send Bury into break ahead.

Brass’s new formation, although not entertaining, proved effective as the visitors struggled to break down Bury’s defensive unit.

And when the Shakers pressed for their second goal they came close through Vaughan but he blasted over from just inside the box.

Andrew Tutte was introduced from the bench with half-an-hour to go and he added extra bite to midfield in his first appearance in two months.

The visitors pressed for an equaliser late on and the best chance fell to Charlie Colkett but he dragged the ball wide with the goal gaping.

Bury's second victory in five games means that, while they remain in the relegation places, they are now just one point from safety.