Bury F.C 3-0 Bristol Rovers
Attendance: 2,535 (346 away)
Rovers were reduced to ten men during the first-half at Gigg Lane, with Stuart Sinclair shown two yellow cards in the space of twenty minutes. The hosts took advantage of the extra man by scoring three second-half goals through James Vaughan, Greg Leigh and George Miller, as Bury ended Rovers' unbeaten run in SkyBet League One.
Rovers named three changes for the trip to Gigg Lane, with James Clarke, Stuart Sinclair and Byron Moore all included in the starting eleven, which saw Rory Gaffney, Cristian Montano and Daniel Leadbitter drop to the bench.
The hosts included twenty-goal striker James Vaughan in their starting eleven, who was paired up front by Tom Pope and had options on the bench in the shape of Hallam Hope and former Premier League player, Jermaine Pennant.
In the opening exchanges both sides enjoyed spells of possession, but it was Rovers who registered the first opportunity of the game, with Billy Bodin adventuring on a driving run from deep which resulted in the ball being worked to Byron Moore down the left and the winger delivered a dangerous ball into the box that Luke James managed to make connection with, but the flick from the outstretched leg of the striker deflected the ball narrowly over the crossbar.
A training ground move from a set-piece twenty-yards out from the Rovers goal saw the hosts create an opportunity to open the scoring, as Cameron Burgess was found unmarked in the area from a short free-kick and the Fulham loanee played a threatening ball across the face of goal that was almost touched into the net by Leon Barnett at the far post.
Shortly after the chance from Burgess' cross, Bury broke in behind the Rovers defence through James Vaughan, who skipped past numerous challenges inside the Rovers area before his run was eventually halted by a well-timed challenge from Lee Mansell, who was then able to clear the ball away from danger for the visitors.
A long clearance up field from the Bury defence caused Rovers problems midway through the first-half, as the hopeful pass forward was controlled by the in-form James Vaughan, with striker continuing his run into the Rovers area but was prevented from getting his shot away by an excellently executed sliding challenge by Tom Lockyer, who showed good pace to track the striker's run.
Rovers had a similar chance of their own just moments later, as Byron Moore received a pass in behind the Bury defence and advanced through on goal, but the winger was challenged by Leon Barnett before he was able to launch a shot on goal.
In an evenly matched first forty-five minutes, it was Rovers who created the last chance of the opening period, as Byron Moore robbed possession from his namesake, Taylor Moore, on the touchline and raced into the area before directing a powerful effort towards the far corner that was touched over the bar from the fingertips of 'keeper Joe Murphy.
The final five minutes of the first-half proved to be dramatic, as Stuart Sinclair was shown a second yellow card for simulation just minutes from the half-time break, with the midfielder picking up his first booking of the night for the same offence just twenty minutes previously. Sinclair's dismissal was followed by a forced change when James Clarke received treatment on the pitch and was unable to continue, which led to Jake Clarke-Salter coming on in stoppage time of the first half.
During half-time Rovers replaced Billy Bodin with Rory Gaffney, which resulted in a change of shape, as Ryan Sweeney, Tom Lockyer and Jake Clarke-Slater formed a trio in defence, while substitute Gaffney partnered Luke James up front.
The home side were awarded a penalty just minutes into the second half when Greg Leigh went down inside the Rovers area under a challenge from Lee Mansell. Striker James Vaughan was tasked with taking the penalty and dispatched his effort high into the roof of the net to give Bury the lead.
Rovers, who were attacking the goal in front of the travelling fans, responded well to going a goal down and almost scored an equaliser minutes after going behind when a shot from outside the area from Tom Lockyer took a heavy deflection that diverted the ball out of reach of Joe Murphy, as the 'keeper could only watch as the ball bounced back off the post, with the rebound falling to Lee Brown, who side-footed the effort towards goal but the defender's effort was blocked on the line and cleared behind for a corner.
Bury extended their advantage when a deep cross by goalscorer James Vaughan found full-back Greg Leigh unmarked at the far-post, with Leigh throwing himself at the ball to score a diving header, giving the hosts a two-goal cushion.
With fifteen minutes left in the game Bury scored their third goal of the evening, as young substitute George Miller broke in behind the Rovers defence and directed a side-footed effort that nestled into the top corner.
Luke James had a late effort from outside the box for Rovers, as the striker's effort was turned around the post by a diving save from Joe Murphy.
Next up for Rovers is the visit of Chesterfield to the Mem this coming Saturday.
Bury: Joe Murphy (G), Greg Leigh, Cameron Burgess, Anthony Kay (C), Andrew Tutte (45' George Miller), Tom Pope, James Vaughan (81' Jermaine Pennant), Leon Barnett, Taylor Moore, Callum Styles (55' Kean Byran), Paul Caddis.
Substitutes: Rob Lainton (G), Scott Burgess, Hallam Hope, Ryan Lowe
Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Lee Brown (68' Cristian Montano), Tom Lockyer (C), Lee Mansell, Chris Lines, James Clarke (43' Jake Clarke-Salter), Byron Moore, Billy Bodin (45' Rory Gaffney), Stuart Sinclair, Luke James, Ryan Sweeney.
Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall (G), Robert Harris, Daniel Leadbitter, Jonny Burn.