Cheltenham Town’s seven-match unbeaten run came to an end despite a spirited performance against promotion hopefuls Bury.
Boss Michael Duff had identified the Shakers as the best side in League Two earlier in the week and they lived up to their billing here, hitting four past his improving side at Gigg Lane.
Free-scoring Bury, who had only beaten here once in 10 matches, deserved their win but the Robins had made them work for it, especially in the first half and merited their goal through Chris Clements.
Back to the drawing board then for the management with another long trip north to prepare for against League One Accrington Stanley in this weekend’s FA Cup second round match at the Energy Check Stadium.
Duff kept faith with the same side that beat Newport County at the weekend, naming an unchanged team for the third successive match.
The home side started brightly and led as early as the 14th minute.
There was an early sighter for Byron Moore and Jay O’Shea, who had attempted a clever effort from a free-kick but Scott Flinders was alive to the danger, diving to his left to beat it away.
But the home side were in front a moment later after some good play down the right by Danny Mayor, picking up a short corner and delivering a ball across the face of goal to leave Chris Stokes the easy task of prodding home at the far post.
Tyrone Barnett almost headed home an immediate response, meeting Chris Hussey’s ball from the left but his effort lacked power and dropped wide.
However the big striker had a big hand in the equaliser after 25 minutes, stealing possession back from goalscorer Stokes and playing in Jordon Forster down the right.
The defender floated a beauty into the box and Clements was there to beat Joe Murphy into the top right-hand corner.
The goal had stunned Ryan Lowe’s side but they went on to create a couple of half-chances before restoring their lead six minutes before the interval through Nicky Maynard, the former Crewe Alexandra and Bristol City striker, who met Jay O’Shea’s low cross from the right to stab home from six yards.
Barnett went close after the break, but he couldn’t reach a decent ball by Luke Varney.
And there was chance for Hussey after another promising move down the left through Ryan Broom but the defender drilled his effort wide.
Alex Addai was pressed into action after a string of impressive performances of late, replacing Varney in attack and had a couple of good chances to grab the leveller with 25 minutes to play as the home faithful grew frustrated.
Tom Field was also sent on in place of Will Boyle with Hussey moving inside for final 20 minutes.
The Brentford loanee brought some fresh legs down the left with Bury looking susceptible to crosses into the box.
But the replacements had barely enough time to feel their way into the contest before Bury had claimed their third.
Byron Moore got it, a fine individual goal in which he won it back 35 yards from goal, burst into the box down the left and slid a low one one past Finders.
Maynard added the fourth ten minutes from time who finished spectacularly past Finders after he latched onto a looping ball by O’Shea and crashing home via the underside of the crossbar.
Addai forced a good save with the last kick of the match but the game had been long conceded.
BURY (3-5-2): Murphy; Aimson (O’Connell 61), Thompson, Stokes; Adams (Miller 74), O’Shea, Mayor, Danns (c), McFadzean; Moore (Dagnell 84), Maynard. Subs not used: Hudson (Gk), Subs not used: Hudson (Gk), Styles, Telford, Adams.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Boyle (Field 68), Tozer (c), Forster; Broom, Clements, Atangana, Thomas, Hussey; Varney (Addai 60), Barnett (Jones 84). Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Mullins, McAlinden, Alcock.
REFEREE: C Boyeson
ATTENDANCE: 2,779 (75 from Cheltenham)