Bury had to settle for a point at home to Burscough in a match where the Shakers occasionally flashed brilliance but all too often allowed the struggling visitors a way back into the contest, writes James Beedie.

It was an early start for many Bury fans on Saturday morning as more than 40 volunteers – some arriving before daybreak – helped clear the pitch in an effort to get this match played. Their efforts were rewarded as another Gigg Lane postponement was averted however the match itself got off to a poor start.

Manager Dave McNabb later characterised the opening 45 minutes as 'probably the worst half of play since I’ve been in the role'. Bury were uncharacteristically poor on the ball, failed to maintain possession for more than a short moment at any one time and struggled to build an effective attack.

Burscough, despite their lowly position, looked the more organised outfit and gave the home side a warning shot as a scrambled effort appeared to cross the Bury goal line only for the chance to be ruled out for offside.

The Shakers however failed to turn their fortunes around and fell behind to a fine Sam Rigby goal. A slick passing move down the Linnets left wing evaded three Bury markers, the ball fell to the Burscough forward Rigby who skipped past two further Shakers defenders and fired a thumping finish past Harry Wright to give the visitors the lead.

Bury could have fallen further behind when a Harrison Kay shot was spilled by Wright directly to oncoming forward Anthony Walsh but the Burscough man put his header over the bar.

Bury did have chances of their own Andy Briggs going close twice late in the half but there was no hiding the fact that Bury were struggling and to even go in just the one goal behind was something of a blessing.

The team returned from the dressing room early and with a sense of urgency. Within thirty seconds of the restart Briggs saw a shot blocked in the box. The battling Bury we have come to expect were back, competing for every ball, they brought the match to Burscough as the sudden burst of life was greeted by roars of encouragement from the stands.

The equaliser arrived only five minutes into the second half, a deep cross from Billy Reeves found Briggs unmarked in the box and he placed his header into the bottom corner to bring Bury level. Bury then went one better only four minutes after that. A Gaz Peet corner was met by Dec Daniels who headed home to give Bury the lead.

Bury had successfully turned the match around, it felt like the second half would follow that pattern until the final whistle. Burscough were unable to stop Bury from attacking at will, they couldn’t get the ball out of their own area and struggled to stop the rejuvenated Shakers often resorting rougher tactics. This lead to Bury’s next great chance when the referee spotted a foul in the box and pointed to the spot just after the hour. Dec Daniels stepped up to take the spot kick but saw his effort well saved and held by Barry in the Burscough goal.

The disappointment of the penalty save and the missed opportunity to go two goals up proved to be another turning point. While the Shakers tried to keep the visitors at bay their own chances dried up though substitute Sam Burns rattled the woodwork with a good solo effort.

With ten minutes to play a Burscough corner made its way to centre back Ethan Darr, his looping header found the far bottom corner of the Bury goal and suddenly the teams were level again, the resurgent Bury not able to add any more goals to their tally.

And so it proved for the rest of the match. Bury had all the possession for the closing stages but never looked like scoring the goal that would win them three points. Burscough were reduced to ten men when Harvey Sample put in a cynical foul on Gaz Peet but even with a man advantage Bury could not find another goal. Deep into stoppage time a late corner routine straight from the training ground left Andy Kellett open with a great chance to fire on goal but the substitute made a hash of his effort blasting the ball over the goal and into the stand behind.

The final whistle blew on a match that Bury will be disappointed not to win but truly didn’t deserve more than the point they earned. The unbeaten run continues but any dropped points could prove decisive in a tightly contested promotion race that looks like it could go down to the wire.

The Shakers are back in action tonight (February 13) at Cheadle Town.