LEE Clark had mixed feelings after watching his Bury side “limp” over the line at Southend yesterday.

Bury lost 1-0 after failing to bounce back from Stephen McLaughlin’s early strike for the Shrimpers, who were chasing a place in the play-offs.

But results elsewhere ensured they would escape relegation from League One.

Port Vale eventually went down, despite a spirited display in a goalless draw at third-placed Fleetwood Town.

While Bury also finished above Gillingham on goal difference after they drew 0-0 at Northampton.

“Today we were not great at all,” Clark said. “We have limped over the line. Results have gone in our favour and the job has been achieved, the short-term goal.

“But I didn’t feel we handled the pressure at all today."

Things could have been very different for the Shakers, had Port Vale taken their chances at Fleetwood and Gillingham not missed a penalty against the Cobblers.

Bury failed to get a single shot on target, despite the fact a point would have secured their safety without the help of others.

“It was a nervy performance," added Clark. "We never got going in any way, shape or form, but, the job is done.

"I just said to the players ‘if you want to be competing at the top, that comes with pressure'. We need to have a group of players who can handle it."

Ryan Leonard struck the base of the post early on for the Blues before Simon Cox dragged a shot wide following a swift counter attack.

McLaughlin capitalised on Leon Barnett’s poor defensive header to volley in the opening goal inside 23 minutes.

Shakers keeper Joe Murphy had to be in fine form late on to save Leonard’s 30-yard piledriver and deny Marc-Antoine Fortune from point-blank range.

The defeat could have been heavier had Southend not been wasteful, but Clark is now focusing on reshaping his team, with a mass clear-out of the 36-man squad expected over the summer.

“The big rebuilding job, both on and off the pitch, starts in earnest tomorrow morning,” Clark added.

“The reshaping of the squad will not happen overnight. We have to be ready to do this type of business.

“I know this league well, I know what it takes to be successful in it and I know what’s required.”

Bury will announce a players retained list later this week and Clark has revealed injured winger Craig Jones will not be on that list, with a new contract offer imminent.

“We will be sorting the retained list out later this week,” Clark said. “We will be talking to Craig (Jones) and his advisor.”

Match ratings

Bury (5-3-2): Murphy 7; Moore 5, Barnett 4, Kay 4, C Burgess 5, Leigh 5; Caddis 4, Tutte 4, Lowe 5 (Mayor 55, 6); Pope 4 (Miller 50, 6), Vaughan 5. Subs not used: Williams, Cameron, Brown, Ferry, S Burgess.

Southend United (4-4-2): Walton; Demetriou, Ferdinand, Thompson, O’Neil (Amos 79); Atkinson, Timlin, Leonard, McLaughlin; Cox, Fortune (Robinson 82). Subs not used: Bexon, White, McGlashan, Hines, Nouble.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey).

Attendance: 9,245 (577 visiting).