Phil Edwards has made a habit of scoring important goals for Burton Albion and his close range finish against Bury again ensured that the Brewers recorded a first ever victory against the Shakers and keep Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's men firmly in the top three after another home victory against a fellow promotion rival. The popular defender was in the right place to pounce when Adam McGurk's free kick was flicked on by Stuart Beavon to give Edwards the perfect opportunity to bag his third goal of the season and secure Albion's 100th Football League victory.
Bury arrived at the Pirelli in good form after recovering from a poor November that dropped them out of the race for automatic promotion but they came up against a Burton side who had won their last five home games in a row since the change of manager and were also in the middle of an unbeaten run that had enhanced their claims to promotion at the end of the season.
Hasselbaink had two changes enforced upon him for the visit of the Shakers. Both Matty Palmer and Kelvin Maynard picked up injuries in the battling draw at Bootham Crescent and their substitutes last weekend kept their places - Lucas Akins dropping in on the right and Adam McGurk on the left.
Jacob Blyth's early effort on his left foot rippled the side netting as Burton got off to a good start with less than ninety seconds on the clock.
Darragh Lenihan, buoyed by his first senior goal at Portsmouth two weeks ago launched a long range effort at goal on five minutes but this time Nick Pope in the Bury goal had nothing to worry about as the ball sailed well over the bar. The Irish midfielder was handed another chance to test Pope from a corner but having waited to bring the ball under control his eventual effort was disappointing high and wide.
The direct running of Akins caused Bury plenty of early problems and a typically surging run to the edge of the box saw the ball break for Lenihan inside the 'D' but his right foot shot took a deflection and went over for a corner.
Bury broke free from their defensive duties just before the quarter of an hour mark, Daniel Nardiello inches away from connecting with a diagonal ball in that drew Jon McLaughlin out of his six yard box and when the wily striker pulled the ball back for Tom Soares the midfielder was denied as McLaughlin got everything behind the ball to deny him.
Albion resisted a spell of Bury pressure before coming up with their best moment so far. Good understanding between Beavon and Akins meant that the latter nipped onto a little back heeled pass and with the goal in his sights he forced Pope into an excellent save under his crossbar with a rising shot that came back down with Adam McGurk heading over although it looked like referee Stuart Attwell had already blown for a foul by Blyth in trying to win the ball himself.
Hallam Hope pulled a shot wide of the target from the edge of the box and left his mark on skipper John Mousinho as he looked to clear moments later, the former Everton youngster earning himself a talking to from the referee.
McGurk and Akins almost combined for the opener on 34 minutes. McGurk did well to cut back onto his weaker right foot and his driven cross eluded everyone with Akins not too far away at the back post from converting a difficult chance.
Mousinho was close to getting a vital touch to a McGurk corner as the half drew towards its conclusion but referee Atwell adjudged a Bury defender to have got the last touch. Burton kept the pressure on for the remaining moments but had to settle for going in at the break on level terms.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Bury
Bury started the second half brighter and in the same way that Albion ended the first period with a flurry of corners Bury started the second forty five minutes with the same pressure. A foul by Hope on George Taft relieved the pressure as Chris Hussey swung in a teasing delivery.
Albion were soon back on the attack though and McGurk pounced on a loose ball and only a deflection off Nathan Cameron gave Pope a good chance to claw the ball away as it headed towards the far corner.
Soares latched onto a loose clearance from Taft and made space for a shot that McLaughlin had to beat away, going to his left and Bury were back on top with a corner.
Burton finally got the breakthrough on 62 minutes. McGurk was unceremoniously bundled over near the corner by Riley. The Irish winger picked himself up, dusted himself down and sent in a teasing free kick that Beavon flicked on at the near post and that put in on a plate for Phil EDWARDS to slide in and convert from close range.
With Bury having already made their three substitutions it was 77 minutes before Albion made their first change with Tom Naylor handed a debut replacing McGurk. The Derby loanee was quickly involved breaking down a Bury move and bursting towards the box before seeing an ambitious shot blocked.
A delay in play while Darragh Lenihan received treatment meant that Bury had to wait to take a free kick and when it did come in via the left boot of Hussey an excellent save from McLaughlin denied Nardiello with a flicked header.
Albion almost caught Bury on the break, Lenihan having made a quick recovery not quite finding the accuracy of pass to pick out either Blyth or Mousinho haring up in support.
Andrew Tutte picked up the first yellow card of the game on 88 minutes after a late challenge on Beavon. It looked a bad one but in truth Beavon was just too quick for the Bury man with some quick feet on the touchline which invited the tackle that referee Atwell took exception to.
Ian Sharps replaced Blyth as the game ticked into stoppage time with the brief of making sure Albion's clean sheet was preserved and five minutes of stoppage time ended with Albion quickly breaking looking for a second before the final whistle stopped them in their tracks.