Lincoln City were soundly beaten by League Two promotion candidates Bury at Sincil Bank, who notched their sixth consecutive away win.
The Imps were disjointed from the start and Bury took full advantage, racing to a 3-0 lead within twenty minutes.
Andy Haworth opened the scoring on 10 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the box that Imps ‘keeper Joe Anyon could only fumble into the net.
Manchester United loanee Nicky Ajose extended the lead in the 21st minute, following up after Anyon had parried Ryan Lowe’s close-range effort.
Lowe added another just two minutes later with a wonderful chip from 25 yards to put the game well beyond Lincoln.
The Imps rallied and had chances of their own. Mustapha Carayol could have scored spectacularly with a dipping strike from 20 yards, and would have seen his name on the score sheet but for Bury ‘keeper Owain Fon Williams’ acrobatics.
Carayol again tried his luck after exchanging passes with Ben Hutchinson, but Fon Williams was equal to his low shot.
After the break, the Imps wasted further chances, and were eventually punished as Ajose hit his second, seizing on Jamie Clapham’s casual pass and driving it beyond Anyon to kill off any Lincoln resurgence.
Ryan Lowe completed the scoring to ensure that the points went back to Gigg Lane and further the Shakers’ promotion hopes.
The defeat leaves Lincoln in 19th place in League Two and Imps manager Steve Tilson was philosphical in defeat, but felt that his side could have prevented at least three of the five goals.
Imps: Anyon, Watts, Clapham, Gowling, Hoyte, Carayol (Hughton 69) , Jarrett (McCallum 72), O’Keefe, Kerr, Hutchinson (Broughton 79), Facey
Bury: Fon Williams, Picken, Skarz, Lees, Sodje, Schumacher (Sweeney 66), Haworth (Worrall 70), Jones (John-Lewis 80), Mozika, Lowe, Ajose
Goals: Haworth 11, Ajose 21, 71, Lowe 23, 90+3