Relegated Bury sink Portsmouth

Sky Bet League One
Bury 1 Portsmouth 0

PORTSMOUTH failed to hit the high note of a play-off place as the famous Pompey chimes rang out among their 1,500 fans at Gigg Lane.

A second-half goal from George Miller gave Bury the three points, a result which means Kenny Jackett's men will again be competing in League One next season.

Relegated Bury won't, but they at least gave their supporters something to smile at with a first win since mid-February.

The Shakers have used an astonishing 43 players this season, something which manager Ryan Lowe - himself Bury's third boss of the campaign - labelled "ridiculous" in the match day programme.

And he fielded only one of his six loan players in this game - Middlesbrough's Miller - as he sets about clearing the decks in the summer.

Bury's fans can take a crumb of comfort in the fact that youth team products Ryan Cooney, Saul Shotton and Callum Styles all started and impressed, too, with fellow youngsters Joe Adams, Tsun Dai and Callum Hulme on the substitutes' bench.

Portsmouth, who a decade ago were in the Premier League and preparing for an FA Cup final, which they won, had a slim chance of climbing into the play-off positions providing both Charlton Athletic and Scunthorpe United lost.

But, even if they had beaten Bury, their faint hopes would have been extinguished due to Charlton and Scunthorpe's victories.

They started the game the dominant side and should have taken the lead on the quarter-hour mark when Harry Bunn failed to track Ben Close.

The Portsmouth midfielder only had Bury goalkeeper Joe Murphy to beat, but shot the ball low and hard across the face of the goal.

Bury soon began to get their act together and Bunn was in the thick of the action again when he launched a thunderous effort which skimmed Portsmouth stopper Luke McGee's crossbar.

Then the ex-Huddersfield Town forward floated a ball into the box for captain Neil Danns, who laid it off for Jay O'Shea, but the Irishman's ambitious volley was off-target.

At the other end, the towering Oliver Hawkins was making a nuisance of himself and played in strike partner Brett Pitman, but the usually-prolific marksman hit the ball wide.

The best chance of the first-half came in the 25th minute.

Winner Jamal Lowe found himself in space and sent a crisp ball in for Pitman, the Portsmouth captain heading it inches wide or the post.

Minutes later, Lowe, who was a constant danger down the right flank, whizzed past Bury left-back Greg Leigh but saw his effort to wide.

Bury seemed re-energised in the second-half and upped the ante.

Leigh outran Nathan Thompson and set up O'Shea, whose effort skimmed the far post.

Then Portsmouth had three chance to take the lead, firstly when Dion Donohue's flick reached Stuart O'Keefe, only for the on-loan Cardiff City midfielder to hit his volley wide.

Then Christian Burgess rose above the Bury back line, but headed over, before Pitman's effort landed on the roof of Murphy's net.

Bury struck first in the 68th minute.

Miller, who had struggled to get any change out of Portsmouth's colossal centre-halves Burgess and Matt Clarke, capitalised on a dreadful mistake by goalkeeper McGee, nicked the ball and slotted it into the back of the net.

The visitors, though, kept up the pressure and both substitute Matty Kennedy and Pitman were thwarted by veteran Bury goalkeeper Murphy.

Then Zeli Ismail played in Miller, who turned to try and make room for the shot, with the ball landing for substitute Tsun Dai, whose effort was deflected wide.

A nervy final few minutes saw Lowe sending ball after ball into the Bury box, with Shotton particularly effective in clearing any danger.

Portsmouth, who beat Bury 1-0 in the reverse fixture in December, had two chances to score a last-gasp equaliser in the dying moments.

Substitute Conor Chaplin had his effort pushed around the post by Murphy before Burgess' header was cleared off the line by Dai as Bury claimed the three points in their final home game of the season.

Bury manager Lowe was pleased with his team's performance.

He said: "It was nice to get the three points, but it doesn't change anything.

"We sent the fans away happy as it has been a rough season for them as well as for us.

"I said to the lads that I wanted them to be comfortable in possession, which we managed to do in the second-half and it paid off.

"I'm pleased that we kept a clean sheet, as well."

Bury: Murphy; Cooney (Clarke, 79), Thompson, Shotton, Leigh; Ismail, Danns, Styles, O'Shea; Bunn (Dai, 25); Miller (Sang, 90).
Substitutes not used: Ripley, Adams, Tutte and Hulme.

Portsmouth: McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue (Haunstrup, 62); Lowe, Close, O'Keefe, Ronan (Chaplin, 84); Hawkins (Kennedy, 54), Pitman.
Substitutes not used: Bass, Deslandes, Evans and May.

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