City 1 Bury 0

Super sub Barry Conlon left the Valley Parade pitch to the chorus of his name ringing in his ears.

It may only have been a few weeks ago some City fans were booing the big Irish striker but that was long forgotten last night.

The debacle of what happened when he was introduced against Luton, booed as he came off the bench, is a distant memory.

That evening he defied them to force a draw with his equaliser but last night Conlon went one better by plundering City’s 85th-minute winner.

Fans applauded his entry when he replaced Michael Boulding just nine minutes earlier, a sign that they are seeing sense, and they went wild when the 30-year-old came up trumps at the death on a freezing night at Valley Parade.

Skipper Graeme Lee had rattled the crossbar with a 30-yard free-kick and it seemed like frustrated City’s poor recent home record was set to stretch to four matches without a win.

But Conlon, in typical bustling style, followed up as the rebound hung in the air and he rose high above Bury keeper Wayne Brown to nod it in and send City up to second in the table.

In this day and age, such challenges are normally automatically given in favour of the keeper but there was never any doubt this time that Conlon simply won the contest.

The full three points was the least City deserved as they backed up Friday’s win at Grimsby.

It wasn’t pretty for large parts but they kept plugging away all evening, defended expertly and created the better of limited chances.

Bury had the best of the early possession without ever truly testing the City defence.

The hosts started sluggish and it was easy to see this was their fourth game in just ten days.

Omar Daley misplaced a casual pass to TJ Moncur under no pressure, the ball sliding into touch to invite Bury in further, and Moncur had to nervously nudge a header back to keeper Rhys Evans on the edge of his area after one long ball over the top caused a slight scare.

But it was City who had the first real sight of goal, inevitably top scorer Peter Thorne playing a part.

The big striker laid off to Michael Boulding 20 yards out and his fellow frontman pulled a shot to the right of the post.

Daley, looking to impress before his one-match suspension kicks in against Barnet on Saturday, tried to add some pace to events by zipping out of defence on one of his trademark bursts.

But the Jamaican lost control and the loose ball gave Bury dangerman Elliott Bennett his first shooting opportunity.

It didn’t trouble Evans but the visitors continued to show signs of why they have been so successful on their travels this season.

Alan Knill’s men may have lost three of their last four games going into last night’s encounter but all had been at home and they arrived at Valley Parade having yet to suffer defeat on the road.

With Bishop and O’Grady constantly offering an outlet up front, they did break with speed and swiftly expose any loose play from the hosts.

Stuart McCall’s side coped though, even if they did look a little stretched at times.

Tom Clarke was one player who never looked flustered. The loanee from Huddersfield debuted at Grimsby, coming on at right back when Matt Clarke was sent-off, but started in the middle last night following his namesake’s suspension.

The 20-year-old was cool and composed alongside Lee, regularly negating Bury attacks and showing some class on the ball to get out of a couple of sticky situations.

For all their slow start, City did have the better chances and Thorne went close when he flicked on Paul McLaren’s whipped-in free-kick, although they had to hold their breath at the other end when Evans raced out of his area to deny Bishop, only to see his clearance fall at the feet of Bennett.

With the keeper marooned in no man’s land, the midfielder fired towards the empty net from 40 metres but missed the target.

City should have broken the deadlock on 28 minutes after Daley’s magic down the left caused all sorts of problems for the visitors.

He sped past three defenders to reach the by-line, before finding Boulding, who laid off brilliantly with his back to goal at the near post.

His delicate touch invited both Thorne and Nicky Law to apply the finishing touch but it was Law – racing in from the other flank – who got to it first.

The midfielder, signed for a second loan spell from Sheffield United on Monday, struck with his left but the ball agonisingly skewed wide.

He should have done better with the golden opportunity from just eight yards out and Bury reminded him of how costly it might be soon after.

Stephen Dawson rattled City’s woodwork with a curling shot from 20 yards that had Evans beaten and the game suddenly came to life.

Clarke’s former Terriers team-mate Efe Sodje proved stubborn at the heart of Bury’s defence and it was his gangly leg that produced a vital interception just as Boulding’s clever lay-off seemed to have put Daley in on goal.

Bradford forced their first corner of the night on 41 minutes and they finished the half with a flourish. Paul McLaren burst down the right and, although his cross was headed clear, it only went as far as Law, who this time saw his drilled shot turned wide.

Chris O’Grady caused problems down the City right early in the second half when he eased his way to the byline to deliver a fine cross across their six-yard box. Fortunately for the hosts, none of his team-mates could get on the end of it.

Bury then nearly self-imploded when Ryan Cresswell’s back pass went totally off-cue, trickling past his advancing keeper, who had to turn and frantically chase back to palm it off the line.

Thorne picked up the scraps and found Boulding unmarked in the centre but Cresswell atoned for his suicidal error by flinging himself at the striker to twice block amid the chaos and deny a certain opener.

Sodje then had Bury’s best chance as he rose at the back post to meet Brian Barry-Murphy’s quality free-kick forcing Evans to tip over.

Bishop – who broke City’s hearts at Valley Parade in February with a last-minute winner – was kept quiet until the 83rd minute when he finally escaped the excellent Lee’s clutches.

But Evans was up to the task and it mattered little as Lee and Conlon combined to set up that grandstand finish.