Carlisle United claimed their second win in the space of four days following a blistering first half display against a Bury side who remain deep in relegation trouble.
But they were made to work as the second half introduction of Shakers’ substitute Sebastien Carole brought invention and purpose to a previously lack lustre Bury attack.
“This has been a really tough period for all of us but what a difference a week makes,” manager Greg Abbott said. “For the first time in a long, long time I did not enjoy my Christmas Day at all. The win on Wednesday changed that and by adding three points today we have made ourselves feel much, much better.
“The confidence and belief has always been there but it’s all about results in this game. I was ready to give them a rocket when I went into the dressing room at full time but I changed my mind as soon as I saw them. They were buzzing having earned a very good victory and they deserved to enjoy that.
“The confidence grew from the early goal and I thought we played some really exciting stuff. It’s been a good day, even though they put us through it in the second half, and we’re delighted that the fans will be able to really enjoy their New Year celebrations.”
The day couldn’t have started better for United when Chantler spotted Brad Potts making a run from deep. A lobbed pass followed and a drag-back from the young midfielder left Sodje at sixes and sevens. His clumsy challenge left referee Eddie Ilderton with no option but to point at the spot. Striker Lee Miller immediately grabbed the ball and doubled his tally for the season on his return from injury with a crisp finish past Carson.
Jon-Paul McGovern raised smiles and applause when he spotted the keeper off his line moments later and he was unlucky to see his half-way line lob creep just over the bar.
The Shakers threw men forward and forced an unbelievable save from young keeper Mark Gillespie when Wylde clipped the ball into the box from wide. Tom Hopper rose to meet it and it needed a one-handed diving push onto the bar to prevent the visitors from pulling level.
Hopper wasted another close range effort when he miscued a cross from Doherty, with Livesey in close attendance, but it was all about the Cumbrians as they grew in stature.
And wide man Matt Robson grabbed his third goal in two outings when he kept his eye on a cut-back from the marauding Frank Simek. A touch and swipe left Carson with no chance.
Confidence started to ooze and the Cumbrians looked like extending their lead with every attack as Miller, McGovern and Noble pulled the strings. The emerging Brad Potts enhanced his ever-growing reputation with shots from distance which had Carson worried and Berrett curled one just wide with the Cumbrians attacking at will.
Edwards and Livesey caused problems from a McGovern corner as their respective headers and volleys rose into the air but Bury reminded their hosts that there was still work to do just before the break when Doherty dug a cross out from nothing tight by the corner flag. It flew through legs and a fortunate touch from Livesey was enough to stop the flying Stephen Schumacher from smashing it in.
Schumacher bent a 23-yard free kick over the wall on the stroke of half time but Gillespie stood strong as the crowd showed their appreciation for what had been a very entertaining half.
A half-time substitution brought French winger Sebastien Carole into the fold and his impact was noticeable as Bury pushed forward with more purpose.
Another dipping free kick from Sxchumacher was deflected as the Shakers camped forward and Hopper hit the outside of the post when he rose to meet the resulting corner. Hughes was next to test Gillespie as another cross pinged around the box .
The Shakers deservedly got back into it when former-Blues loanee Stephen Schumacher timed his run from the edge of the area. His header was powerful and it left the previously solid Carlisle stopper with no chance.
Worrall and Carole then combined in what was a very good period of play for the visitors and the base of the post saved United as a crunching shot spun away on the rebound.
Gillespie then came into his own with saves from Thompson, Worrall and Wylde in quick succession and a diving parry caught the eye when Schumacher tried to finish off a one-touch move from the edge of the area.
United started to bide their time and built their attacks on the break with Noble sending a deflected effort at Carson when he linked up with Miller.
And the Bury belief started to fade as their chances went begging and that allowed the Cumbrians to get forward more as the pace of the game slowed down. Potts put a chance just wide when he latched on to a delivery from Robson and the nerves should have been completely calmed when Symington broke from deep. His pass was perfect for fellow teenager Brad Potts but he took his eye off the ball and blazed his chance for glory over the bar.
United - Miller (2 pen), Robson (10)
Bury - Schumacher (53)
United - Edwards (47)
Bury - Doherty (30), Hughes (44), Sodje (62)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Simek, Edwards, Livesey, Chantler, Berrett (Beck 68), Noble, Potts, McGovern (Symington 85), Miller, Robson. Subs - Collin, Murphy, Welsh, Loy, McGinty.
Bury - Carson, Skarz, Worrall, Schumacher, Sodje, Hughes, Hewitt (Carole 46), Hopper, Doherty, Thompson, Wylde (C Jones 85). Subs - Sweeney, Dibble, A Jones, Soares.
Referee - Eddie Ilderton
Attendance - 4,435 (306 away fans)