CHRIS Powell’s unbeaten start as Southend United manager continued with a hard fought 0-0 draw at Bury tonight.

The Shrimpers went into the game at Gigg Lane on the back of three successive wins.

But Blues were unable to make it four in a row as the bottom of the table Shakers continued their own recent improvements with a spirited showing.

The Shrimpers came close to taking an early lead when Shayon Harrison teed up Michael Timlin, who fired just wide of the right post from 20 yards.

The on loan Harrison partnered Freddie Ladapo in attack in the only two changes from Saturday’s win against Wigan Athletic as Marc-Antoine Fortune dropped down onto the bench and Simon Cox missed out altogether due to personal reasons.

However, Ladapo was the next to threaten as he sent a low, left footed shot wide of the right post before Michael Kightly fired a low shot straight at Bury goalkeeper Connor Ripley after a bright burst forward.

Moments later, Kightly and Harrison combined well to create another opportunity for Ladapo, but his left footed shot was too close to Ripley, who tipped it wide of the right post.

In reply, Bury midfielder Zeli Ismail sent a deflected 20 yard shot inches wide of the right post before Blues hit back with Harrison having a well struck effort well saved low down to his left by Ripley, who also reacted sharply to beat Ladapo to the rebound.

The Shrimpers stayed on top for the remainder of the half but were unable to make a breakthrough before the break, when boss Powell was forced into making his first change as Jermaine McGlashan replaced Kightly on the left flank.

However, Bury began the second half brightly, with James Hanson heading straight at Mark Oxley from 12 yards before Harry Bunn saw an effort cleared off the line by Stephen McLaughlin.

After surviving the scares, the Shrimpers hit back with Dru Yearwood sending an effort wide of the left post from the edge of the penalty area.

With 61 minutes on the clock, Yearwood headed over from 12 yards following a weak punch from Ripley.

But, 15 minutes later, Blues came even closer to breaking the deadlock when Harrison’s 20 yard shot was parried out by Ripley before Yearwood sliced the resulting rebound wide of the right post. In a further bid to make a breakthrough, Powell made a second change in the 82nd minute with Marc-Antoine Fortune replacing Harrison in attack.

After the alteration, captain Ben Coker had an effort pushed away by Ripley as the Shrimpers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.