IF this proves to be Ryan Lowe's last game as Bury's caretaker manager, it was some way for the much-loved striker to sign off.

The Shakers are rock-bottom, were without a permanent manager and had gone six league games without a victory.

But they made a mockery of the League One table to stun leaders Shrewsbury.

In his sixth game in charge, Lowe finally got the response he'd been asking for as a much-changed side put in Bury's best performance of the season.

The visitors had only lost once in 17 league games this term and were awarded a 43rd-minute penalty against the run of play.

But winger Shaun Whalley missed it and Bury took full advantage.

They scored a superb team goal on 56 minutes, finished off by Greg Leigh, and it proved enough to secure a welcome win.

Lowe made six changes after successive 3-0 home defeats while also switching from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-4-1-1.

Earlier in the day former Bury centre-half Chris Lucketti emerged as the latest favourite for the manager's job.

And who knows whether it was the potential appointment of a new boss, the changes made by Lowe or the backing of a much more vocal home crowd, but this was a vastly-improved performance.

Lowe said: “We've been working hard with the lads to drum into them what we know they've got, and they went and proved it.

“You bring players in from the cold, and over the last week or so I've been thinking I'm 'the Tinkerman', Claudio Ranieri, I've made that many changes!

“But these things need to happen until you get a winning formula, a winning team and a winning mentality.

“We're in it together and if we keep putting in performances like that then the only way is up for us.”

Given Bury's summer signings, the bookies expected them and Shrewsbury to be the other way round in the League One table this season.

And although the Shrews' unbeaten start lasted until October 28, it looked as though Bury were the side that is up there.

After a quiet start, the Shakers bossed the first half. Michael Smith headed over from a Jay O'Shea free kick before Bury went close twice in quick succession just after the half-hour mark.

O'Shea curled over from around 25 yards before Harry Bunn caught ex-Shaker Joe Riley in possession, but keeper Dean Henderson stuck out his right boot to keep out Smith's low strike.

Henderson also kept out a 20-yard strike by winger Mihai Dobre, back from international duty with Romania's Under-21s, yet moments later the visitors had a golden chance to break the deadlock.

Toto Nsiala played a ball down the right channel for Carlton Morris, who was brought down in the box by Bury keeper Leo Fasan.

Whalley fired the spot-kick against the post and Stefan Payne's follow-up brushed the side-netting.

Bunn had been excellent in the first half, repeatedly running at a resolute visiting defence to provide the creative spark Bury needed, but his stop-start season since joining from Huddersfield continued as he hobbled off with what looked like a hamstring problem.

The Shakers brushed off that blow to take a deserved lead – and what a goal it was too.

Leigh played the ball inside before continuing a diagonal run towards the middle, while O'Shea and Smith combined to put the left-back clean through and he rounded off a fine move by sliding the ball past Henderson.

Dobre was then denied by the visiting keeper while Fasan was finally called into action, making a fine save to keep out Jon Nolan's fierce strike. And the Shakers' keeper secured the three points with a point-blank save from Nsiala.

“Everyone's been working hard to put it right,” Lowe added. “Sometimes you have to win ugly and I think tonight was a mixture of both (flowing football and battling qualities).

“People know we've got a good squad but it's all right having a good squad on paper. It's now coming to fruition and the main aim is to build on that.”

Match ratings

Bury (4-4-1-1): Fasan 8; Edwards 8, Cameron 8, O'Connell 8, Leigh 9; Dobre 7 (Williams 78, 6), Laurent 8, Ince 8, Bunn 8 (Maguire 51, 7); O'Shea 8; Smith 8 (Reilly 90, 5). Subs not used: Ajose, Aldred, Tutte, Maloney.

Shrewsbury (4-4-1-1): Henderson; Riley, Nsiala, Beckles, Sadler; Whalley, Godfrey, Nolan, Payne; Dodds (John-Lewis 66); C Morris (Gnahoua 80). Subs not used: Adams, Bolton, B Morris, Shelis, MacGillivray.

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge (Tyne and Wear).

Attendance: 3,055 (455 away).