Danny Mayor’s 13th goal of the season proved Bury’s lucky charm as the Shakers sealed automatic promotion back to League One with a point at Tranmere. 

The division’s top-scorer James Norwood handed Rovers an early advantage but Mayor netted a precious equaliser after the break to seal an immediate return to the third tier for Ryan Lowe’s men.


After promotion rivals Mansfield and MK Dons both lost over the weekend and play each another on the final day, the Shakers went into the game knowing a draw would suffice in a rearranged clash at Prenton Park. 

Nicky Adams’ dangerous corner inside three minutes was met by Scott Wharton, who headed wide, with slick play seeing Jay O’Shea’s effort smash off Scott Davies shortly afterwards, with Adams lashing the follow-up over. 

But the home side took the lead not long after when marksman Norwood rose highest to nod home from Kieron Morris’ corner, which crept in despite Joe Murphy’s efforts on the line. 

Mayor fended off challenges in midfield to unleash a drive from distance before the quarter-hour mark – but Davies was not troubled. 

Norwood got in behind the Bury back three and delivered a low cross for Morris as he nearly turned provider but the midfielder lost his footing, while Murphy dived low to keep out Ollie Banks’ powerful effort on 23 minutes. 

Murphy kept the deficit at one moments later when Morris slipped in Norwood to go one-on-one but the stopper saved with his feet, while at the other end, Adams’ cross found a free Dom Telford, who might have levelled but could only stab wide.  

Connor Jennings could have added Tranmere’s second by latching on to Banks’ pass after ghosting in behind the Bury rearguard but the Rovers man fired off target. 

The Shakers had an early chance after the break when O’Shea’s powerful effort from just outside the box was parried wide by Davies in the Tranmere goal. 

The woodwork came to his and the home side’s aid before 50 minutes when Chris Stokes’ cross found Nicky Maynard but his header rebounded off the post. 

Davies kept his side’s lead intact when Mayor found Telford, who turned in the area and forced the stopper into a 54th-minute save as the Shakers pushed. 

And they got their reward when Mayor worked his way into the box to cross, with the rebound falling to the midfielder, whose second attempt went in via a deflection to give the visitors their all-important goal. 

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Murphy came to Bury’s rescue at the other end before the hour mark as Norwood turned in the box and took aim, the goalkeeper’s shoulder carrying the effort over. 

O’Shea’s ambitious 68th minute free-kick from 25 yards curled around the Rovers wall but did not find the target. 

As the game wore on, a Morris corner found its way all the way through to Jay Harris who fired a thunderbolt over the bar for Rovers. 

Maynard could have put the visitors in front with just over 10 minutes left and settled a few nerves but couldn’t connect with Stokes’ low cross.

But there were jubilant scenes at full-time in the away end as promotion was confirmed, Lowe’s side able to celebrate on the field despite all their problems off it this season.