Bury climbed to third place in League Two with a 1-0 win against struggling Southend.

Joe Skarz scored the only goal of the game late in the first half as the hosts extended their unbeaten run to eight games.

Southend keeper Glen Morris frustrated Bury early on, making a smart stop to keep out Ryan Lowe's third-minute penalty after Nicky Ajose had been fouled in the box.

Morris produced an even more impressive save to deny Lowe again but Bury's dominance paid off five minutes before the break.

Skarz escaped his marker to neatly head home Steven Schumacher's well-judged free-kick.

Southend offered more threat in the second half and Barry Corr headed a glorious chance over the bar from Ryan Hall's cross.

A further opportunity went begging when Josh Simpson saw his shot from six yards scrambled away by Cameron Belford.

Bury suffered a blow when Belford went off injured on the hour but 19-year-old debutant Richie Branagan superbly saved Michael Timlin's long-range effort as the hosts held out.

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