Port Vale wrapped up the 2018/19 Sky Bet League Two campaign by earning a point away to promoted Bury on Saturday afternoon, with Tom Pope finding the net against his former club before Jordan Rossiter responded in style for the hosts.
It was the home side who had more of the ball in the opening exchanges as they looked to put on a show in front of a jubilant set of supporters, but Vale looked dangerous on the counter with Luke Hannant and David Worrall occupying the wide berths either side of Pope.
Bury did have the first attempt of the afternoon on eight minutes, however, but Nicky Maynard could only fire his strike over from 20 yards. Just seconds later it was the Valiants who went close, but Hannant drilled one wide after profiting on a loose ball inside the area before Pope headed wide from the next attack.
Vale almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances with 17 minutes played, but Danny Mayor was able to breathe a sigh of relief. It was his attempted pass across his own box that was directed towards goal by the head of Pope who did well to intercept, but it skidded inches wide of the post.
The superb contingent of travelling supporters thought their team had opened the scoring just three minutes later, but the woodwork came to Bury’s rescue. Hannant created the opportunity with a dangerous cross from the left flank, but Pope’s powerful header rattled the post with Joe Murphy at full stretch.
At the midpoint of the first half, the deadlock was broken, and it was the Valiants who were rewarded for their dominant start. Antony Kay was the architect with a pinpoint long ball into the path of Pope, and he made no mistakes with the finish from close range after showing great control with his chest.
The frantic opening continued, and the hosts went inches away from levelling proceedings with half an hour on the clock, but Caolan Lavery could only direct his effort onto the crossbar after he got an outstretched leg onto Jay O’Shea’s low delivery into the area.
Just before half-time, Bury did manage to find the net in spectacular style to ensure that it would be all square heading into the break. Jordan Rossiter found space in a central position before curling one into the far corner beyond the reaches of Scott Brown to spark euphoria around Gigg Lane.
Following the restart, substitute Cristian Montano attempted to make an immediate impact by hanging up a cross to Pope, but his header was comfortable for the goalkeeper. Tom Conlon then sent a dipping free-kick over the wall on 49 minutes, only to see it ripple the side netting.
Nicky Maynard was presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead on 54 minutes as Byron Moore showed great pace down the left before teeing up the striker. It looked easier to score from six yards, but he somehow struck the top of the bar to let Vale off the hook.
Vale almost took advantage of an error by Murphy with 65 minutes played, but Pope’s low effort was well blocked by a defender. Montano then failed to get on the end of a low cross that was fizzed across the face, but Ben Whitfield eventually got another shot away that was saved by the goalkeeper who recovered well.
Moore forced Brown into a smart save up the other end with 13 minutes left to play after he cut inside before letting fly, but the goalkeeper thwarted him expertly. Tom Conlon almost snatched it at the death as he pounced on a Pope flick, only to see Murphy parry his strike onto the bar and away from danger.
Bury: Joe Murphy, Adam Thompson, Eoghan O’Connell, Danny Mayor, Jordan Rossiter, Ryan Cooney © (Nicky Adams 66’), Scott Wharton (Byron Moore 26’), Callum McFadzean, Jay O’Shea, Caolan Lavery (Dom Telford 66’), Nicky Maynard.
Unused Substitutes: Scott Moloney,, Joe Adams, Callum Hulme, Femi Seriki.
Port Vale: Scott Brown, Luke Joyce, Leon Legge, Antony Kay, David Worrall (Cristian Montano 45’), Tom Pope ©, Luke Hannant (Ben Whitfield 60'), Adam Crookes, Nathan Smith, Theo Vassell, Tom Conlon.
Unused Substitutes: Sam Hornby, Danny Pugh, Danny Elliott, Dan Turner, Lucas Green-Birch.
Attendance: 6,719 (954 Vale).