BURY’S bid for automatic promotion back to League One was further dented by a second home defeat in four days, this time by a convincing 3-0 scoreline at the hands of strugglers Cambridge United.

The Shakers were distinctly second-best on a miserable night as the visitors eased their own relegation fears with a comprehensive success.

Amid a backdrop of uncertainty at Gigg Lane thanks to the ‘internal financial restrictions’ revealed by the club prior to the match, Ryan Lowe’s troops at least made a bright start to the game.

Top scorer Nicky Maynard played a neat one-two with the recalled Byron Moore before seeing an effort comfortably saved by U’s keeper Dimitar Mitov.

Jay O’Shea then skipped past three challenges before curling a shot just past the upright from 20 yards.

As the Shakers pressed hard for an early opener, clearly stung by Saturday’s first defeat in 15 games at the hands of Swindon Town, O’Shea was looking particularly lively.

He took a smart pass from Callum McFadzean before forcing Mitov into makinga decent near-post stop.

The mood certainly wasn’t lifted by a shock opening goal from Cambridge after 16 minutes.

After Jevani Brown’s initial strike was blocked, Alex Jones pounced on the rebound, firing low into the far corner past Joe Murphy.

It was almost 2-0 a minute later when Brown volleyed inches wide.

Lowe’s Shakers were chasing a game again, and there was another let-off in the 29th minute.

David Amoo robbed Adam Thompson far too easily before lashing in a tight-angled shot which Murphy beat away.

The U’s got their second goal five minutes later.

Again, it was a hugely disappointing strike to concede as former Bury loanee Amoo raced unchallenged onto Brown’s through-ball before slotting comfortably past Murphy.

After an encouraging start to the game, it had turned into a nightmare opening half for Bury, and a huge improvement was needed.

Boss Lowe altered his team formation to a more adventurous 4-3-3 after the restart – but there was little impact made in the early stages.

In fact, Amoo had the ball in the back of the Shakers net in the 50th minute but he had pounced from an offside position.

The home faithful were doing their best to rally their troops but on the field, the players appeared short of some much-needed confidence as their promotion tilt looked to be heading for another crushing blow.

O’Shea saw a powerfully-struck shot blocked as the hosts probed desperately for an opening but still the U’s looked a threat on the break and Jake Doyle-Hayes forced Murphy into action.

With 20 minutes to go it was almost game over as the visitors came mighty close to a killer third goal. Jones played in strike partner Brown, but he fired into the side netting.

And it was all over in the 72nd minute when Cambridge notched a deserved third.

This time, George Maris side-footed neatly into the corner of the net after a corner-kick from Brown wasn’t cleared.

Substitute Dominic Telford missed Bury’s best late chances of grabbing a consolation goal at the end of what turned out to be a dismal day both on and off the field.