NICKY Ajose bagged a brace as Bury beat Walsall 2-1 to reach the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy.

The striker was recalled for the second-round tie and gave the Shakers a seventh-minute lead at the Banks's Stadium.

League One rivals Walsall then claimed a deserved equaliser through Erhun Oztumer in first-half stoppage time.

But Ajose put Bury back in front on 65 minutes to give Chris Lucketti his first win as Shakers boss.

Lucketti had challenged his players to show him what they can do, and he gave Ajose and Andrew Tutte a chance to impress in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

They were the only changes to the side which drew 0-0 in Lucketti's first game in charge at Northampton last Saturday and Ajose took little time to make an impression.

Callum Reilly's diagonal ball was brought down by striker Michael Smith and, just as he did in Bury's last Checkatrade Trophy match against Stoke, Ajose opened the scoring with a superb strike, this time hitting a half-volley from 20 yards that flew past keeper Liam Roberts.

Much of Bury's play was directed towards Smith, with Ajose playing off the tall striker, and the Shakers then forced two corners in quick succession, the latter seeing Roberts gather a Nathan Cameron header.

Ajose also missed a chance that was far easier than the one he'd just buried. Jay O'Shea's shot deflected into his path and the offside flag stayed down, giving Ajose time to pick his spot, yet his shot from 10 yards was too close to Roberts, who saved with his leg.

Walsall gradually got on top, with an Eoghan O'Connell block taking the sting out of a Tyler Roberts shot before Leo Fasan kept out Kieron Morris' low strike.

But the Bury keeper had no chance as neat passes by Maz Kouhyar and Tyler Roberts played in Oztumer, who tucked the equaliser inside the far post.

Tyler Roberts fired straight at Fasan after the break but the hosts did not pose the Shakers to many more problems for the remainder of the match.

Instead, Bury moved up a gear as Cameron headed wide from an O'Shea corner before Ajose claimed his second goal.

Reilly led a Bury break before releasing Tutte down the right. He stood up a cross for Ajose and the Bury-born striker made no mistake with a free header at the far post.

Ajose thought he'd claimed a hat-trick five minutes later when he bundled in the rebound after Roberts turned Smith's low strike onto the far post.

And although Ajose was flagged offside, his earlier efforts proved enough to book Bury's place in the third round.