Bury 3 City 1

THE local fan had dismissed any suggestion of Bury derailing the Bantams bandwagon.

"We never end runs like that, we just extend them," was his emphatic response, to universal approval among his friends, when asked about the chance of inflicting the first away defeat of the season.

The massed ranks of City supporters were equally convinced of the outcome.

Travelling with Stuart McCall's side has been fun so far, barring one second half at Walsall. Four wins out of six on the road had instilled as much belief off the pitch as on it.

Not for the first time, Gigg Lane hosted more away fans than home. Nearly 3,000 descended on the Lancashire market town to swathe both ends of the ground in claret and amber.

The more superstitious within the travelling army might have clocked Chris Maguire's appearance in the Bury side and shuddered.

It was, after all, the same Saturday last year when Maguire's free-kick in injury time at Oxford put paid to City's two-month unbeaten start.

We even had the same referee David Webb, who infuriated McCall's men at the Kassam by rejecting last-gasp penalty shouts when Romain Vincelot appeared to be dragged down.

The form guide was also stacked in City's favour, with Bury not having won a league meeting since February 2010 – the final game of McCall's first managerial reign. So it was almost inevitable what would happen next.

Shakers boss Lee Clark, seemingly public enemy number one in the main stand before kick-off, finished with an ovation ringing in his ears. The gaps in the stands behind the goals by then evidence that the City faithful had seen enough well before Webb's whistle.

Webb and penalty calls had come back to haunt them. The contentious decision for Luke Hendrie's inadvertent clip on Jermaine Beckford was the turning point.

Yet City and their supporters also trailed away knowing that the points had been there for the taking.

What has most impressed in the opening couple of months is the way that, the Banks's Stadium apart, the Bantams have played with such control on their travels.

Once in front, they have rarely looked flustered or panicked under pressure. They have seen games out like teams with lofty ambitions for the season should.

But they have not had to chase things. Before Saturday, City had only trailed once away at Oxford – when Vincelot preserved a point with an equaliser as late as the goal that beat them down there previously.

There was no need for such frantic pursuit at Bury. For all McCall's talk about "two minutes of madness" in the first half changing the game, time was very much on their side.

They had three-quarters of the game to recover a one-goal deficit – and chances galore to do it.

But it was all a bit too rushed, too forced, too gung-ho. It needed someone to take a breath, calm things down and trust the attacking instincts of a team that have scored more away goals than anyone.

The midfield lauded by McCall as up there with the best after the win at MK Dons lost the battle this time.

Vincelot, so ruthless in front of goal of late, was guilty of missing some of the juiciest chances and rounded off a deeply frustrating afternoon by being credited with Bury's third goal after it cannoned in off his shins.

Jake Reeves, a magnificent figure in Milton Keynes, for once lost his passing radar. He never shied away from possession but that control on the ball that we've come to expect was absent.

Nicky Law flitted in and out but showed a reluctance to pull the trigger when he got himself into promising areas.

The absence of Tony McMahon was a factor in terms of that strong character he brings to the side. But City fared okay when sharing around the set-pieces, Adam Chicksen going the closest with a long-range rocket that was tipped over.

Hendrie, filling those big boots at right back, even followed McMahon's lead by supplying the cross for the opening goal.

Dominic Poleon got above two markers to flick on and Charlie Wyke positioned himself at the back post to steer in a left-foot volley.

Wyke's fourth goal in three games set the travelling party in motion as the fans prepared to drink in another one for the road. "Everywhere we go," pumped out in stereo as City threatened a second.

But the afternoon then turned on its head when Chicksen's clearance pinged back into his own penalty area from a Bury block.

Hendrie turned to see it out of play, only to catch Beckford as he did so. The former Leeds men went to ground, Webb had a look, had a think, then had a whistle.

As the fans behind the goal fumed at the soft award, Maguire's penalty ensured parity – his mocking celebration in front of the supporters just adding to the perceived injustice.

It got worse within a minute as City succumbed to their own sloppiness. Alex Gilliead slipped as the ball was cheaply given away, Michael Smith nodded Chris Humphrey's cross against the bar and Beckford was on hand to convert the rebound.

Bury were transformed as a previously-jaded home crowd came to life. Smith's strength in the air and the powerful runs out wide from former Bantams player Greg Leigh and Humphrey, before he limped off, kept City on their toes.

But the game was still there to be won, as McCall emphasised during the interval. He was not wrong as the chances stacked up – and went begging.

Three times Vincelot found himself in space in front of goal; one cross he missed, another he didn't get enough on and the third – and best – he powered wide from six yards.

His wasn't the only head being held in dismay. Poleon went through on goal but was outwitted by keeper Leonardo Fasan; Gilliead denied by a fantastic block from nowhere after a quirky free-kick routine opened up the defence.

Instead it was Bury who had the final say as the two frontmen exploited the gaps being left by an increasingly desperate opponent.

Beckford slipped past Hendrie for a cross-shot which Colin Doyle parried. Jay O'Shea followed up the rebound which pinged off Doyle again and bounced in via the incoming Vincelot.