A TEST of character was well and truly passed for Ryan Lowe’s Bury after returning to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over struggling Macclesfield at Gigg Lane.

The Shakers missed the chance of going to Wembley after a Checkatrade Trophy defeat to League One Portsmouth midweek, a loss that could have dented promotion ambitions.

But Nicky Maynard, Jay O’Shea and Scott Wharton goals saw Bury make it three League Two wins on the bounce – a victory Lowe was desperate for whichever way it came.

"I just wanted the three points. This was a tough game for us after the disappointment of Tuesday against Portsmouth,” he explained.

"That was on some of the players' minds undoubtedly, but in the end we've turned in a totally professional performance and I'm delighted for everyone.

"All of the players' attitudes were first class, and it had to be.

"A lot of people will have expected us to win maybe four, five, six or even seven-nil, but most importantly it was about the three points.

"Credit to the lads, they had to be patient because Macclesfield were tough opponents despite their position in the table.

"We didn't just look to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, we played the game in the right way and I have to be happy with that.

"This was a test of character for the players today after Tuesday night, but I would say they passed it with flying colours.”

It took just 24 minutes for Maynard to bag his 18th of the season, on hand to smash a rebound high into the roof of the net after Caolan Lavery’s effort was saved.

But goals dried up thereafter as Sol Campbell’s side tightened the ship to frustrate the hosts, with Maynard denied three minutes after the restart courtesy of goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara’s point-blank save.

On the hour mark Lavery tossed away a gilt-edged opportunity when driving a shot well wide after meeting a perfectly-weighted through-ball from Danny Mayor.

But the crucial second goal did come 15 minutes from time, from the penalty spot, when Michael Rose was adjudged to have handled Mayor's shot on the turn towards goal, leaving O'Shea the job of stepping up to make it 2-0 from the spot.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the home faithful, who had watched their side largely going toe-to-toe with a determined Macclesfield outfit.

And Bury made it three with the last action of the game as Wharton confidently nodded home Nicky Adams' out-swinging corner for his first Shakers goal.

"It was nice for Scott to get his goal,” added Lowe.

"You could see exactly what he's all about. He's a real presence in there, and he's got lots of talent.

"I told him to go up for that late set-piece and I'm delighted he got his head to it.

"If we keep playing our football in that way, and doing the right things, we'll achieve our aim, but there's still lots of games remaining and plenty to play for.”


Bury (3-5-2): Murphy 7; O'Connell 6, Thompson 7, Wharton 7; Adams 8, O'Shea 7, Rossiter 7, Mayor 8 (Danns 87, 6), McFadzean 7; Lavery 7 (Moore 80, 6), Maynard 7 (Telford 68, 6).

Subs not used: Moloney, Stokes, Cooney, Omotayo.

Macclesfield (4-4-2): O'Hara; Welch-Hayes, Kelleher, Cameron, Fitzpatrick; Arthur (Martis 81), Maycock (Stephens 87), Cole 6, Rose 7; Wilson 6 (Biabi 83), Smith 7.

Subs not used: Idem, Durrell, Evans, Demetriou.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton.

Attendance: 4,277.