BURY boss Ryan Lowe said his side lacked quality and did not want it enough as they lost 2-1 to promotion rivals Mansfield Town on Boxing Day.

A strike from CJ Hamilton and a Tyler Walker penalty were enough for the hosts at One Call Stadium, with Jay O’Shea’s stoppage-time spot-kick a consolation for the visitors.

Goalkeeper Joe Murphy pulled off a string of fine saves to keep Lowe’s side in it but the manager was still left disappointed.

“We weren’t good enough,” he said. “There was a lack of quality, too many touches and (poor) decision making.

“The first 10 to 15 minutes I thought we were on it but from then on I thought we were sloppy in possession, sloppy in our units and distances.

“I don’t know whether you can put it down to a bad day at the office.

"I’ve just told the lads I didn’t really see the desire today to run through those brick walls.

“They probably wanted it a bit more, so I’m a bit disappointed by that.”

Lowe said the Shakers needed to continue to improve to ensure they stay in the promotion hunt.

He made five changes to the side which beat Tranmere at the weekend but some players impressed him more than others, as they dropped down to sixth in League Two ahead of Saturday’s visit to Notts County.

Lowe added: “I keep saying we are nowhere near the finished article, we still have long way to go, and I’ve said this to the boys.

“We’re in a good position and we have been playing some good football but the hardest thing is staying there and that’s what we are going to do. Work hard to stay there.

“We’ve got a good squad and some players gave me a headache and some players didn’t.”

The Shakers started like a house on fire, with Eoghan O’Connell afforded too much time in the six-yard box but he could not get enough power in his header and Conrad Logan tipped over.

Murphy made a fantastic save just before half time as a series of ricochets sent the ball to the Stags’ Hamilton but it was smothered by the goalkeeper.

At the start of the second period a goalmouth scramble saw O’Connell head the ball against his own bar in an attempt to keep the ball out of the Bury net.

The Shakers conceded on the hour in unusual fashion as an exquisite ball by Jacob Mellis found Hamilton, he volleyed it against Murphy but the ball popped up off the keeper and Hamilton headed into the empty net with Murphy stranded.

Bury tired as the second half progressed and when Hamilton found himself in acres of space he looked set to score but Murphy saved with his legs.

Referee Ollie Yates awarded the Stags a penalty with 11 minutes to play when Ryan Sweeney was pulled down by Adam Thompson at a corner, with Walker converting.

O’Shea notched the penalty for Bury in stoppage time after Nicky Maynard was felled but the Stags gained revenge for their 1-0 defeat in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier this month.

Mansfield Town (3-5-2): Logan; Preston, Pearce, Sweeney; White, Bishop, Mellis (Atkinson 85), Elsnik (Rose 69), Benning; Walker (Graham 88), Hamilton.

Subs not used: Kean, Khan, Butcher, Law.

Bury (3-5-2): Murphy 9; Aimson 6, Thompson 7, O’Connell 7; Miller 7 (Adams 52, 5), Dawson 6 (Danns 58, 5), Styles 6 (Maynard 71, 5), O’Shea 7, Stokes 6; Telford 7, Lavery 7.

Subs not used: Hudson, Dagnall, Moore, McFadzean.

Referee: Ollie Yates..... 6/10.

Attendance: 4,959.