OLDHAM manager Paul Scholes bemoaned his side’s heavy schedule after they allowed a first-half lead to slip away in a 3-1 defeat to derby rivals Bury.

The bragging rights went to the dominant, promotion-chasing Shakers, who remain unbeaten since last year thanks to a deserved win against the Latics.

Callum Lang had given the visitors the lead in the eighth minute, but a Nicky Maynard brace plus one for Caolan Lavery saw Bury stage a second-half fightback to take all three points.

And after watching his side suffer a second defeat on the bounce, Scholes admitted Oldham’s fourth game in two weeks had taken its toll on his players.

“It's disappointing of course,” said Scholes. “We've conceded three sloppy goals and we can't afford to be doing that. I thought the first-half performance was alright.

“We played some nice stuff and got the early goal. Don't forget Bury are a really dangerous team, but we were nullifying them and proving a threat ourselves.

"I think in the end though, four games in just two weeks are starting to take their toll on some of the players. It's turning out to be a bit too much for some of them.

"We did do okay in that first half, but you've got to play like that over the course of a full 90 minutes. We sat too deep in that second half, and we've paid the price.

“We've been playing on some bad pitches too, and that doesn't help the way we play.

"We've just got to move on now, though, and prepare for another tough game against Stevenage next weekend now. I'll give the players a couple of days off because they need it.”

Amid a white-hot atmosphere at a packed Gigg Lane stadium, it was the Shakers who threatened first in the fifth minute as Maynard saw his thumping shot palmed away by Daniel Iversen.

The visitors struck three minutes later, however. Jose Baxter dragged a low cross back into the path of Wigan loanee Lang, and he forced the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

The stunned Shakers ought to have levelled almost immediately, but Nicky Adams scooped over from 12 yards as he met Byron Moore's cross.

Bury went even closer when Latics' skipper Peter Clarke cleared Callum McFadzean's effort off the line, with Moore then somehow firing the rebound over the top from eight yards.

It had been a pulsating opening quarter of the game, and the hosts continued to press for a leveller as Iversen rescued Latics with a one-handed stop to keep out Will Aimson’s header.

Oldham's goal was beginning to lead a charmed life as unmarked defender Aimson then blazed woefully over the top, but the visitors managed to maintain their lead until half time.

It was Latics who created the first chance of the second period, with young loanee Zak Dearnley firing in a 20-yard drive which Joe Murphy saved well.

The Shakers soon got back into their stride and just before the hour mark Adam Thompson fluffed a terrific chance when he volleyed disappointingly wide.

Oldham finally got their goal in the 72nd minute. McFadzean crossed in low from the left and Maynard bundled the ball home despite the brave goal-line efforts of Clarke.

Five minutes later the game was turned on its head when the Shakers struck again as Lavery struck following Adams' cross.

Maynard made it 3-1 late on as he nipped in front of a dithering George Edmundson to tap home from two yards.