BURY continued their too-little-too-late end-of-season rally with three deserved points.

But while two away draws and this victory over Portsmouth have provided welcome relief from the season’s otherwise abject failings, they also serve to make fans wonder why the team could not have played like this when it mattered.

George Miller was the match-winner as the Shakers signed off their home campaign by giving their long-suffering supporters something to cheer.

And caretaker manager Ryan Lowe was glad for that at least.

“Obviously it is nice to get three points in our last home game of the season,” he said.

“It won’t change anything but it has sent our fans away with a smile on their face because they haven’t had much this season.

“It has been tough for them as well as us, so that’s what we set out to do, to win our last home game.”

A rare three points were secured for the already-relegated Shakers when Miller seized on a defensive error midway through the second half.

And in a season with little to cheer, that saw them confirmed as a League Two club next season a fortnight ago, Lowe admitted the relief will be shortlived.

“We’ve got another three points and we want another three points to finish on,” he said.

“It won’t change anything but our points tally would look a lot better if we can, so that is obviously the aim.”

Of Saturday’s performance, he added: “To a man, we dug in. The quality wasn’t there as much but the players can be proud.

“I said to them I wanted them to make the pitch bigger when we had it, and to be comfortable in possession.

“I think we did that, and it worked.”

Bury got off to a good start against ninth-placed Pompey, going close a couple times with long-range efforts from Harry Bunn and Jay O’Shea.

At the other end, they had a scare when Jamal Lowe’s cross from the right found the unmarked Oliver Hawkins in a good position only for him to glance a diving header wide.

In a low key first half of few clearcut chances, Neil Danns scuffed his drive from outside of the area after Christian Burgess’ clearance had fallen to the midfielder.

Bury suffered a setback when Harry Bunn had to go off injured, and was replaced by Tsun Dai.

Portsmouth went close just before half time when the weaving feet of industrious midfielder Lowe saw him dance into the penalty area and shoot just over.

As chances continued to be created at both ends, the hard-working Greg Leigh found space in attack and played in Jay O’Shea who skewed his shot wide from inside the penalty box.

Brett Pitman then glanced Lowe’s teasing cross just over at the other end, before Stuart O’Keefe’s fizzing volley was deflected wide.

The Shakers had the next good chance when O’Shea’s corner from the right was met by Leigh and Miller hooked the ball beyond goalkeeper Luke McGee only to see Pitman scramble the ball off the line.

Miller had better luck shortly after when the deadlock in a chance-laden half was finally broken.

He was alert to the opportunity when Pompey substitute Matt Kennedy and goalkeeper McGee were not on the same wavelength and the Bury forward capitalised on the mix-up to steal the ball and slot into an empty net on 68 minutes.

Portsmouth applied the pressure as the clock ticked down as they went all out for an equaliser and had a penalty appeal waved away as Bury hung on.