THOSE two proud and historic cup final wins may be in the dim and distant past but the Shakers showed they are still true FA Cup battlers at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

It's 103 years since Bury last had their name engraved on the famous trophy and only a congenital idiot would put big money on skipper Dave Challinor lifting it again next May.

But as everybody knows the competition can be a big moneyspinner for clubs of Bury's ilk and the spirit and effort that Chris Casper's men showed in this first round tie against Scunthorpe kept alive hopes of a long-overdue extended run with Nationwide Conference side Aldershot Town awaiting the winners in round two..

Two goals down at the interval against one of the best teams in League One it looked like this year's competition was going to be more of a damp squib than a bonfire night bonanza.

But the Shakers stormed back in fine style and can consider themselves unlucky not to have finished the job with a winner.

Yet perversely, as it turned out, only a magnificent stoppage time save from stand-in keeper Craig Dootson, replacing the suspended Neil Edwards, prevented the Iron winning the tie.

But that would have been cruel in the extreme given the gritty, determined performance Casper's young guns had shown.

And young they certainly were. No fewer than eight of the sixteen on duty were 21 or under, a good indication of the confidence the new Bury boss has in the crop of youngsters currently coming through.

Scunthorpe defeated Bury both home and away last season on their way to automatic promotion from League Two.

And it looked like being another day to forget for the Shakers faithful when the visitors opened the scoring in the sixth minute.

Lack of concentration proved to be Bury's downfall.

When Simon Whaley was dispossessed on the touchline, Cliff Byrne played an early ball into the box and former Shakers loanee Andy Keogh reacted first at the near post to head powerfully past Dootson into the roof of the net.

It was a real hammer blow to concede so early and all the more disappointing as the home side had enjoyed the best of the early exchanges.

Whaley had a decent shot deflected over the bar, Dwayne Mattis skied another effort over two minutes later then, after a flowing five man move, the same player stabbed the ball wide when well placed.

The goal didn't seem to knock the confidence of the Shakers who continued to take the game to the Iron.

Yet the visitors were still dangerous on the break and Colin Woodthorpe had to be alert to clear an shot from substitute Wayne Corden off the line in the 39th minute.

Nevertheless there was nothing anyone could do to stop Scunthorpe grabbing a second two minutes earlier.

The Bury defence looked to have comfortably dealt with a corner kick when it was headed clear by Whaley but the ball broke to Iron midfielder Ian Baraclough 20 yards out who volleyed a superb effort into the top corner giving Dootson no chance.

Loan signing from Sheffield Wednesday, Danny Reet, replaced an out-of-sorts Matthew Tipton at the interval and his hardworking, powerful front-running kept the Scunthorpe defence on their toes.

Four minutes after the restart the Shakers were thrown a lifeline when Marcus Williams was adjudged to have pulled the shirt of Whaley in the box and referee Trevor Kettle awarded a penalty.

As decisions go it seemed a harsh one on Williams as it looked six of one half a dozen of the other, but Tom Kennedy wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth and expertly despatched the spot-kick for his third goal of the season and second in consecutive games.

The visitors were clearly rattled and with the pace and skill of Whaley a constant thorn in their side Bury surged forward in search of an equaliser.

It was proving not to be Mattis's day as in the 68th minute he got on the end of a good ball from Dave Buchanan only to divert the ball wide from close range but that was soon forgotten a minute later when the Shakers deservedly got back on level terms.

After Whaley and Dave Flitcroft exchanged passes on the edge of the box the latter slid the ball into the path of Paul Scott who celebrated his 26th birthday by firing a superb 25-yard effort past a despairing Paul Musselwhite in the Scunthorpe goal.

With the wet and heavy conditions taking their toll on the players, the game was understandably stretched in the latter stages but neither side could manufacture a late winner.

Keogh's fiercely struck volley in the final seconds was the closest to deciding the tie but Dootson pulled off a superb, acrobatic save.

It was a fitting end for the popular keeper who, after a half of relative inactivity, showed excellent concentration and was mobbed by his teammates at the final whistle.

'Doots' is sure to gain confidence from only his second start of the season, especially after his first, at Halifax in the LDV Vans Trophy, lasted only 15 minutes before he was unluckily dismissed.

Now all roads lead to Glanford Park for the replay next Tuesdayand confidence in the camp is high that there's still everything to play for in this tie.