Nile Ranger bags brace as Southend hit Bury for four
Nile Ranger bagged a brace as Southend won 4-1 at Bury to stretch their unbeaten league run to five matches.
The former Newcastle striker claimed a ninth-minute opener before Simon Cox doubled Southend's lead three minutes later.
James Vaughan pulled one back with a 20th-minute penalty but Ranger secured the first brace of his career after the break before Stephen McLaughlin's superb late strike condemned Bury to their seventh straight league defeat.
Ranger's early opener was his first goal in two years, with the 25-year-old curling his shot inside the far post from Michael Timlin's pass.
Bury had two chances to equalise as Hallam Hope's shot was blocked before Vaughan headed wide, but another Timlin pass set up Cox to fire into the bottom corner.
Ben Coker's trip on Hope gave Bury a lifeline, with Vaughan hitting the spot-kick into the bottom corner.
McLaughlin was then denied by Ben Williams while Hope dragged a shot wide.
The hosts remained on top after the break, forcing Mark Oxley to tip over a deflected Neil Danns shot while Hope volleyed over.
But Cox pounced on a Leon Barnett error to cut back for Ranger to sidefoot home in the 61st minute before McLaughlin smashed in a 30-yard strike with 14 minutes left.