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VERDICT: Rochdale 1 Bury 0
BURY manager Kevin Blackwell called his players in for an extra training session on Sunday after they meekly surrendered three points to 10-man Rochdale.
The Shakers never once tested Josh Lillis in the Dale goal despite playing for more than 50 minutes with a man advantage following the sending off of Peter Vincenti for a second yellow card.
The central midfielder was given his marching orders in the 38th-minute following a late tackle on Andy Procter, just two minutes after playing a key role in the only goal of the game.
Bury stopper Trevor Carson could only parry his towering header from an Ian Henderson corner and Scott Hogan tapped in the rebound from close range.
Rochdale had looked the better side up to that point but the major concern for Blackwell was the fact they were rarely troubled even after Vincenti saw red, with the Bury boss storing up some harsh words for Sunday’s impromptu debrief.
“I want winners, simple as that and if I don’t see it then, you know, if my weekend is ruined then so will theirs be,” he said.
“We were good enough to win the game. We thoroughly dominated the ball but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t score goals.
“I didn’t think the front men were anywhere near bright enough and I gave a man (Andy Procter) a job to mark someone at the corner – he didn’t do his job and it ended up in the back of the net.
“It’s our own fault. I felt people passed on their responsibilities.
“I’m disappointed for the fans. We’ve been doing that well. I wanted to come here and continue it, but we have not created what we should have done.
“We know we have got a competitive team but I want to be more ruthless.”
Blackwell pinpointed his attackers as the weak link but while Anton Forrester and Marlon Jackson lacked any kind of cutting edge, the supply line that provided 16 goals in the previous six games was not evident for Bury either.
The only Shakers players to come out of the match with any credit were right-back Shaun Beeley – who saved the visitors’ blushes with a host of last-ditch tackles – and goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
The Northern Ireland stopper, who was recalled ahead of Brian Jensen, had already pulled off one point-blank save at a corner from a Vincenti header before repeating the trick for the goal, only for the lively Hogan to react quickest to snaffle the rebound.
Rochdale could well have gone on to claim more goals, such was their attacking threat before Vincenti followed up an earlier booking for a late tackle on Bury centre-back Nathan Cameron with an equally misjudged challenge on Procter.
Despite closing up shop after the break, Rochdale posed more of a threat on the break than Bury did as they probed without any real urgency.
Substitute Jessy Reindorf planted a looping header on to the roof of the Dale net shortly after coming on, while Procter should have taken a shot when the goal opened up in front of him on 73 minutes, but the battling midfielder opted to pass out wide and the chance went begging.
In the end, the Shakers put in a muted display entirely unbefitting of the effort made by the 2,000-plus travelling fans that cheered them on.
And while Blackwell promised to lead a full inquest on their behalf, he is confident they will not repeat the below-par performance at Fleetwood on Saturday.
“I’ve never been here before with these players and they haven’t been with me when I’ve been like this so I’m going to find out more again, aren’t I?” he said.
“We talk about the learning curve – none of that lot have had a roasting like I have just given them.”
Bury: Carson 8; Beeley 8, Cameron 5, Edjenguele 5, Roberts 5; Jones 5, Procter 4, Miller 5, Mayor 5 (Obadeyi 5 61); Jackson 5 (Reindorf 6 58), Forrester 5 (Grimes 71). Not used: Hinds, Holden, Sinnott, Jensen.
Rochdale: Lillis, Bennett, Lancashire, Vincenti, Donnelly, Hogan, Lund, Barry-Murphy (Cummins 80), O'Connell, Rose, Henderson. Not used: Thomason, Eastham, Hery, Vidal, Done, Bunney.
Goals: Rochdale 1 (Hogan 36) Bury 0.
Yellow cards: Rochdale - Lund 10, Vincenti 26 & 38, Hogan 32.
Red card: Vincenti 38.
Referee: Carl Boyeson.
Attendance: 5,616 (visiting 2,150).
Star man: Shaun Beeley – On this showing, the on-loan right-back will be a big loss next week when he sits out Bury’s trip to his parent club – Fleetwood Town. He rescued the Shakers back four with a series of last-ditch tackles in the opening half and was a threat going forward as well, creating a shooting chance for Craig Jones that the midfielder should have done better with. The former Conference player of the year showed more urgency than the rest of his team-mates put together and did not deserve to finish on the losing side.
Moan of the match: Kevin Blackwell believes the Rochdale players got away with murder after his counterpart Keith Hill blasted referee Carl Boyeson with a half-time rant. Boyeson had brandished four yellow cards and one red to Dale players in the first half, but kept his cards in his pocket after the break. “They were lucky to have 10 men on the pitch in the end,” he said. “Hilly has had a go at the referee at half time, he’s screaming in his face, and for me I thought it showed in the second half. “So Hilly’s done his job and I’m disappointed with the officials. We didn’t have enough ice for all the injuries at half-time. “I thought some of the tackling was outrageous and it was down to the referee to sort that situation out, otherwise it opens up a free-for-all.”
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