Bury booked their place in the NWCFL Premier Division play-off final after a gutsy victory against Charnock Richard at Gigg Lane.

Tanaka Cherera got the decisive goal early in the second half with a strike worthy of winning any game.

There was a nervy moment at the back for the visitors in the opening stages when Harry Moss and Luke Gibson got in each other’s way, but the pair were relieved to see the ball bounce to safety.

Moss then made a smart stop low to his right to deny Connor Comber, but the offside flag had already gone up.

At the other end, Charles Duke’s deflected strike looked like it might creep in by Harry Wright did well to react quickly and tip it around the post.

The game began to settle after a frantic few minutes, with both sides struggling to carve out chances in the final third.

Max Harrop teed up Charlie Doyle on the edge of the box just before the half-hour mark, but his strike was saved by Moss.

Comber then tried an acrobatic volley after the visitors had failed to clear Harrop’s corner, but it bounced wide.

The midfielder continued to look lively and did well to pick out Cherera moments later, but he could only fire over from a tight angle.

Bury were in control for spells of the first half but were nearly hit with a sucker punch several minutes before the break when a long throw dropped for Lewis Haydock in the box, but he failed to hit the target.

The Shakers started the second half on the front foot and had the ball in the net through Harrop’s volley, but it was chalked off for an offside.

The opener came through a moment of magic from Cherera, who gave Moss absolutely no chance with a thunderbolt from outside the area.

Charnock threatened an immediate equaliser but Ross O’Farrell could only head straight at Wright after Brad Carsley’s flick-on had caused problems in the Bury box.

Dave McNabb was forced into his first change when Sam Coughlan picked up an injury and was unable to carry on. Billy Reeves came on in his place.

Bury had a chance to double their lead after an hour when Cherera broke with pace and squared it for Comber, whose touch let him down at the vital moment. It might well have taken a bobble on the surface, which has taken a battering from the torrid weather conditions this season.

Andy Briggs also joined the action in place of Cherera, who was applauded off the pitch after his super strike.

The visitors thought they had got back on level terms 15 minutes from time but Jordan Darr headed against the woodwork from close range after rising highest at the far post.

Briggs’ low drive then seemed to be heading for the bottom corner but Moss made a fine stop to keep his side in the game.

The end-to-end nature continued and Darr broke into the box with a clever turn, but his goal-bound shot was blocked.

Bury came close to killing the game off after another quick breakaway. Andrew Scarisbrick drove forward and found Harrop, whose strike seemed to be heading for the top corner but Moss made another impressive save.

McNabb’s men survived a nervy final few minutes to set up a clash with Wythenshawe Town in the final on Saturday, and there were scenes of jubilation after the final whistle.

Wright, Ferguson, Jepson, Moore, Peet, Scarisbrick, Doyle, Harrop (Morris 92), Coughlan (Reeves 55), Comber (Pinnington 80), Cherera (Briggs 73). Unused: Holland-Wilkinson.