Stephen Quinn tormented Bury’s defence and showed a willingness to help his own back four on the rare occasions the need arose.
RICHIE Barker, the Bury manager, admitted beforehand that he had used the prospect of a visit to Bramall Lane as a temptation for players during the recent transfer window.
But, with Sheffield United summoning their most potent performance of the new League One campaign, his trio of new signings quickly discovered it was not such a seductive proposition.
Danny Wilson’s side, now second in the table and unbeaten in six games, simply proved too strong in every department for opponents who, having previously troubled some of the competition’s biggest names, crossed the Pennines confident of adding another prized scalp to their collection.
“With the boys we’ve got here it should be no problem getting out of this division,” Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who scored one and created another of United’s four goals, said.
“That’s not taking anything for granted, though. It’s just having belief in the talent that we’ve got here.
“We got a hold of the game and stayed on the front foot all the way through so that was good to see.
“A lot of the matches so far have been a bit of a grind and you expect that.
“So, even though we still had to work really hard, it made a nice change to stick a few away.”
Barker, who regards Wilson as something of a mentor, hailed United as “the best team in the division” after watching them expose the visitors’ weaknesses in ruthless fashion.
With Ryan Lowe and Damien Mozika completing moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Scunthorpe in midweek, Bury found it impossible to respond.
“We’ve come up against Charlton, Huddersfield and Wednesday already,” Barker, who played under Wilson at Hartlepool earlier in his career, insisted. “So I can make that judgement.
“It was a steep learning curve for us and the only consolation I can take is that we don’t have to come here again this season.
“I don’t see too many people coming away with anything here.”
Few Bury players suffered more that poor Cameron Belford who, having set in motion the chain of events which led to Chris Porter’s opener, then compounded that error by punching Mendez-Laing’s centre into the back of his own net.
But he was powerless to prevent Matthew Lowton and substitute Erik Tonne from ensuring United recorded their most resounding success on home soil since September 2007.
Barker absolved Belford of any responsibility for the defeat - “He’s been magnificent for me” - and Mendez-Laing agreed.
It was the first piece of compassion United had shown Bury all afternoon.
“My goal was a cross but, in fairness to their lad, it was a pretty powerful one and I don’t think there was a lot he could do,” the winger, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, said.
“It’s great to get off the mark here. There’s really no better feeling.
“But, to be honest, as long as we’re scoring then I don’t really care who is putting them away. The main thing is that we do it.”
With Neill Collins and Harry Maguire again impenetrable at the back, Stephen Quinn emerged as the architect of this victory.
Three days after United turned down what Wilson again described as an “pathetic offer” from Blackpool for his services - “It was an embarrassment. I almost felt embarrassed for them myself” - the midfielder was a blur of energy and invention in midfield.
“He’s the best player in the league in my opinion,” Barker later admitted. “That was a steep learning curve for us and one of the things that my lads will have come away knowing is how hard even the best teams work.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Danny has got them playing for him. “And playing in the right way too, which I know he always feels is important.
“I’ve picked up a lot about man-management from him because he really is excellent at it.
“They closed us down and pressed us harder than anyone has all season.”
Nevertheless, with Belford producing a fine save to deny Quinn midway through the opening period, United were forced to wait almost until the interval before breaking the deadlock.
Mendez-Laing’s shot was blocked by the Bury goalkeeper but, with the ball bouncing back into the six-yard box, Quinn saw an effort hacked clear before Porter, who first rose to prominence at Gigg Lane, prodded home his second in as many outings.
“That was one of the reasons we brought Chris here in the summer,” Wilson said. “He gets himself in the right positions to do things like that.
“Even if he lays off a pass he carries on his run to get in scoring position.
“He doing ever so well and he’s not even fit yet.”
With Belford gifting United their second soon after the restart, Lowton pounced when Porter’s low drive was parried and Tonne, having scored the winner during Tuesday’s JP Trophy tie at Burton, completed the rout with another impudent finish
Bury, who handed debuts to Shaun Harrad, Shane Byrne and Sheffield Wednesday loanee Giles Coke, showed flashes of the ability which led them to promotion last term.
But, David Worrall and Coke apart, they rarely threatened Belford’s opposite number, Steve Simonsen.
“The gaffer is great to work for and I think the fans can see what he’s bringing to the table,” said Mendez-Laing.
“He’s great around the place, has a laugh and a joke and basically gets on with everyone.
“But he’s very serious about his work and when it’s time to get down to business that’s what he makes sure we do.”
We’ve got to keep on going, keep the same attitude and show the same application. We’re delighted with the result and really pleased with the start we’ve made in general.
But all it does now is make the next game even harder because our next opponents will look at that score and really want to raise themselves.