The Lilywhites made it five games unbeaten with their first away win on a warm afternoon in Greater Manchester.
Rather than the recent glut of early goals it took North End until just before the half hour mark to grab the lead, Sodje making it four goals in as many starts with a close range header at the back post from Scott Laird’s corner.
And it was Laird again who set up the second with another left foot corner, inswinging it from the right hand side to the back post, where Aussie defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff rose highest to head powerfully into the back of the net to send the suntanned following into delerium.
The home side headed home a consolation goal in stoppage time, from full back Joe Skarz, but North End took the win in a thoroughly professional performance.
Manager Graham Westley had returned to the side that defeated Swindon the previous Sunday following the midweek changes at Carlisle, with a squad containing four players who had previous spells at Bury – Wroe, Welsh, Buchanan and most recently David Amoo.
The Lilywhites began with their usual high tempo start, Keith Keane seeing a right wing cross-cum-shot flicked over the bar by Trevor Carson after less than two minutes.
The away following behind the goal and alongside in the main stand was a sight to behold, with close to 3,000 North Enders bathing in the glorious sunshine at Gigg Lane, but the ball was at their end more than they may have wanted in the early stages, a free kick from skipper Steven Schumacher down the left hand side flashing past the right hand upright, after a foul and a booking for Keith Keane.
Goakkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann was then needed to make two very good saves. Firstly Mark Cullen was put through one-on-one, but the big German came out and spread himself to block the forward’s effort and as the ball came back in and again Cullen got above Keane to head on goal, but the No.1 claimed without too many issues.
But he was again called into action just before the 15 minute mark as a back header from Paul Huntington was almost closed down by Lenell John-Lewis, but Stuckmann was brave and took studs to the chest from the forward, with no foul given.
The usually lively Jeffrey Monakana had been quiet in the opening half an hour, but it was his emergence into the game that brought the opener. The former Arsenal winger picked up the ball on the right hand touchline midway inside the Shakers half before diving inside towards the penalty area; he released a shot from edge of ‘D’ but it was deflected for a corner.
The corner on the right was an inswinger by full back Scott Laird deep to the back post, where it was met by a powerful header from Akpo Sodje into bottom left hand corner of Carson’s goal, sending the already boisterous Lilywhites’ following volume up a decibel or two.
The interval saw Joel Byrom make his North End debut, as a substitute for John Welsh, the midfielder back from a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The half started in controversial fashion as a free kick from Byrom was headed back by Wright and clearly handled out of play by a Bury defender, but referee Darren Drysdale looked to his assistant and neither awarded the spot kick.
North End doubled their lead on 67 minutes and it was another set piece. David Amoo won a corner in front of the packed away end and Scott Laird again whipped in a corner to the back post and this time Shane Cansdell-Sherriff rose highest to powerfully head home.
In the closing stages Stuart Beavon closed down goalkeeper Carson and almost put the icing on the cake and it took until the penultimate minute of the half for John-Lewis to fire Bury's first shot of the second half, but it almost went for a throw in rather than test Stuckmann!
In the third minute of stoppage time the home side grabbed themselves a lifeline with their first effort on target of the half as Joe Skarz converted a back post header from Worrall's corner.
The stoppage time was action packed as Beavon forced Carson into a brilliant save after Amoo's break, but North End were able to hold on for their first away win of the season.
Bury Line-Up: Carson, Picken (A Jones, 71), Skarz, Lockwood, Sweeney, Worrall, Schumacher, John-Lewis, Carrington (Byrne, 53), Hughes, Cullen (C Jones, 65). Subs not used: Marshall, Elford-Alliyu, Sodje, Dibble.
PNE Line-Up: Stuckmann, Keane (Byrom, 46), Wright, Huntington, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wroe, Sodje (Beardsley, 74), Monakana (Amoo, 58), Welsh, Beavon, Laird. Subs not used: Buchanan, King, Simonsen, Hayhurst.
Attendance: 5,213 (2,706 away fans)
Referee: Mr Darren Drysdale