THE old dog kept up his old tricks as Nicky Maynard struck a dramatic winner for Bury – leading boss Ryan Lowe to compare him to boxer Anthony Joshua.

The promotion chasers looked set for a frustrating draw for Stevenage only for Maynard to nod home his 19th goal of the season in the fifth minute of added time.

It keeps the Shakers, 13 unbeaten, two points off top spot and with breathing space behind, leaving Lowe thrilled at bagging a vital if imperfect three points.

“There’s nothing like a last-minute winner and I wanted to run on at the end with the lads, but I managed to keep my emotions in check, just,” he said of the 32-year-old’s winner.

“The resilience and character shown by our lads was superb, and they know what is expected of them – we showed we can deal with difficult circumstances, like the elements and a physical opposition, and I think that will quieten a few who have been questioning whether we are a side for all conditions.

“We weren’t at our best, nowhere near, but all it takes is one chance and if there’s one man you want it to fall to, it’s Nicky.

“He’s been around, seen it and done it and to score 19 at this stage of the season shows he’s still very much a force.

“I thought for a second he wouldn’t have the neck muscles to arch back, but he showed Anthony Joshua hasn’t got a patch on him, and the boys are delighted for him."

With league leaders Lincoln winning on Friday, the onus was on Bury to make the early running but, bar a couple of half-chances for Maynard and Caolan Lavery, it was a relatively subdued showing from the division’s most prolific goalscorers.

But for the profligacy of Moses Makasi, Stevenage should have been ahead at the break, as poor first touches saw him scupper two excellent opportunities early on.

Stevenage continued to take the game to Bury, with substitute Jordan Gibson ballooning over from just inside the penalty area with no one around him, before Maynard’s timely intervention.

The diminutive front man took full advantage of the ball ricocheting around the Stevenage penalty area to nod past a despairing Paul Farman to keep the Shakers dreaming.

With just nine games remaining, Bury’s lead over fourth-placed Mansfield Town is now six points, with Lincoln’s lead cut to just two points though they have a game in hand.

“A 1-0 win is always sweet, and there’s no getting away from the fact they had their moments which, on another day, might have hurt us but what is meant to be is meant to be,” Lowe said.

“There are nine games to go and there are lots of teams fighting for promotion and a play-off spot, but we’re not looking at anyone else apart from ourselves.

“We’re enjoying it, and we’ll continue to do that and come three, four games to go I think a much clearer picture will start to emerge.”

Teams and ratings

Stevenage (4-4-2): Farman; Hunt, Wilkinson, Cuthbert, James-Wildin; Chair, Byrom (McKee 79), Iontton, Guthrie; Revell (Adebayo 90), Makasi (Gibson 68).

Substitutes not used: Byrne, Timlin, Henry, Martin.

Bury (3-5-2): Murphy 7; Wharton 7, Thompson 7, O’Connell 6; McFadzean 6, Danns 7 (Omotayo 77, 6), Rossiter 5, O’Shea 6, Adams 6 (Moore 61, 6); Maynard 7, Lavery 6 (Telford 67, 6).

Substitutes not used: Moloney, Miller, Stokes, Cooney.

Referee: John Busby.

Attendance: 3,540.