Bury had to come from behind twice to salvage a draw with Charnock Richard in a tightly contested match in a Saturday lunchtime clash at Gigg Lane, writes James Beedie.

Serving their second of two behind closed doors matches the Shakers were keen to right the ship after back to back defeats had left their promotion campaign on a knife edge.

Manager Dave McNabb named a mostly unchanged side to the midweek loss against Barnoldswick with Dec Daniels preferred to Sam Burns in attack. There was also a spot on the bench for top scorer Andy Briggs who hadn’t featured for Bury for more than a month and his absence has certainly been felt in recent weeks.

The home side set the pace in the opening moments, controlling possession early on but despite this they were not able to muster a meaningful chance on goal. A Charlie Doyle shot whistled just wide of the post and an effort by Miles Storey was on target but comfortably saved by Charnock Richard keeper Harry Moss.

Gradually the away side began to grow into the match, winger Rustam Stepans was especially effecting troubling the Bury backline with his pace and directness. The Villagers opened the lead before the half hour mark. A cross for the left by Marcus Haydock was misjudged by the defence and felt invitingly to forward Brad Carsley. He brought the ball down and slammed the opening goal of the game into the bottom corner.

After the goal Charnock Richard took control of the match and Bury struggled to hold them back. Stepans pulled a pass back to Luke Power who fired a shot that deflected just wide. Carsley had the chance to double his own tally but headed a Stepans cross wide of goal while the visitors did have the ball back in the net Nathan Nickeas finishing well but the offside flag had already been raised.

As it was however Bury would reach half time level. A late corner was swung in by Gaz Peet, it found the unmarked Tom Moore beyond the back post. He headed it back across the line and Oli Jepson was there to head home from a little over a yard out.

Bury might have counted themselves lucky to be level in a match where they had been second best, certainly plenty of sides have done the same to them this season but the parity was not to last.

Early in the second half the constant threat of Stepans beat Peet to a long ball, crossing the ball to Carsley who knocked the ball past Harry Wright from close range to regain the lead.

Manager Davies McNabb had rung the changes making three substitutions at the break and the remaining two on the hour mark and these fresh players began to make their presence known. Sam Burns saw a lob saved by Moss, a Dean Pinnington cross was unconvincingly pawed away by the suddenly busy Charnock Richard keeper before finally Bury managed to grab another equaliser.

A Billy Reeves free kick was sent forward and found the returning Andy Briggs who deftly sent a volley into the bottom corner to bring Bury level and score on his return from injury and extended his record to scoring in each of his last eight appearances.

Bury would have hoped for a chance to go on to win from there and secure a victory over Charnock Richard for the first time this season at the fourth attempt but there were few real chances late in the match Dean Pinnington had one shot go wide and another free kick shot straight at the goalkeeper while Bury had to see out much of the closing moments with ten men as Benito Lowe was sinned binned for dissent.

The full time whistle went, though the point gained would not be enough for Bury to hold onto top spot the Shakers could take solid from knowing the last of the behind closed doors matches were behind them.

The pressure is now on to rediscover the form that took them to the top for the remaining six matches of the season.