DAVID Flitcroft believes lessons must be learned on and off the pitch following Bury’s late Capital One Cup heartache at Bolton on Tuesday night.
The Shakers manager has called on his players to repeat the level of performance at Hartlepool on Saturday, which saw them push their Championship neighbours all the way before eventually losing 3-2 after extra time.
But he has also urged the Referee’s Association to bring in professional officials at every level after late drama at the Macron Stadium.
He was astounded by the decision to play six minutes of added time at the end of the second half and struggled to contain his rage after referee Jeremy Simpson awarded the hosts a debatable late penalty, which Craig Davies put away to draw the tie level.
“We haven’t been beaten by Bolton, we have been beaten by a poor refereeing display,” he said.
“To see six minutes go up; six minutes! I have not seen that for a long time but we are at a Championship club.
“To then get a penalty given against us after 5mins 20 seconds (of injury time) after so many inconsistencies.
“It is not just galling, it is everything surrounding the loss and not getting through to the next round.
“It doesn’t cost the Referees’ Association anything to put this decision right. It has gone. They will probably review it. I spoke to the referees’ boss, David Allison, and I have a massive amount of respect for the Association and I try helping them.
“But the sooner they can go professional the better. All the money in the game and we can’t get our referees professional? It is staggering to me when you hear players on £200-£300K a week.
“Something has to happen because the financial loss to the football club is too severe.”
Flitcroft has vowed to work with the Referees’ Association to review the circumstances leading to his side’s defeat.
But he has also turned the defeat back on to his own players, asking them to show the same fight and determination when they return to league action this Saturday after losing 1-0 at home to Cheltenham Town on the opening day.
“We went toe-to-toe with a Championship team and the lads gave every sinew of their body,” he said.
“They covered every blade of grass; they looked fit, they looked competent. They gave everything but sometimes it is not enough.
“Once we draw back from this place we can show the lads the positives from this game. It might take a couple of days to reflect on.
“But certainly this group of players know they have set a certain standard which we didn’t set on Saturday.
“In every way shape or form we dominated this game – we really showed our colours. But it can’t just be a one-off performance.”