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VERDICT: Bury 2 Rochdale 4
RICHIE Barker has promised to get tough with his players after a terrible performance against Rochdale on Saturday.
The Shakers were woeful against their local rivals, gifting the visitors a three-goal lead inside 18 minutes – a start they failed to recover from.
Bury were so dreadful, the first half scoreline flattered them and his side's failure to compete left Barker incensed.
“That performance was very hard to stomach,” the manager said. “We were not beaten by anybody who did anything more spectacular, they just competed in the right areas and showed more desire and more work-rate.
“I said to my players that if you give your local rivals a three-goal start on your own turf, you need shooting. It is the biggest leg-up ever.
“To be honest we were lucky not to be five down, because Cameron (Belford) pulled off a good save and they hit the bar.
“If they can't motivate themselves for a local derby, we have got an issue. The only thing I can do now is make changes.”
Shakers supporters were left shellshocked by a barnstorming start that saw Rochdale race into a three-goal lead inside 18 minutes.
Ashley Grimes opened the floodgates before Marcus Holness, with a powerful header, and Nicky Adams, from a rebound, made it 3-0.
It could have been worse for Bury had Belford not made a point-blank save from David Ball after a mistake from Efe Sodje.
The Shakers pulled one back in the 20th minute when, from a long punt forward that was partially headed clear, Michael Jones lobbed Jake Kean in the Rochdale goal.
Things did not get any better after the break when Belford dropped a cross right at the feet of David Ball, who scooped the ball home.
But Bury gave themselves a glimmer of hope thanks to Andy Bishop's expert finish from Jones's cross.
Rochdale's intensity had dropped and Kean was forced to make a fine save from Peter Sweeney's free-kick.
With just 14 minutes remaining, Adams, who was booked for taking his shirt off when celebrating his goal, was sent-off.
However, Barker's men could not take advantage of having an extra man on the field as they slumped to their fourth successive defeat.
“Maybe one or two of the players think their place in the team is cemented - but not anymore,” said Barker. “People have to earn the right to play in the first team.
“If anybody comes to me and asks me why they are not playing against Chesterfield on Tuesday, I will tell them to watch a copy of the dvd from this game.”
Bury: Belford 5, Picken 5, Sodje 5, Eastham 5, Skarz 5, Worrall 6, Coke 5 (Byrne 7, 53), Sweeney 6, M Jones 7 (Haworth 6, 72), Bishop 6, Harrad 5 (Cullen 6, 53). Subs not used: Branagan, A Jones.
Rochdale: Kean 6, Darby 7, Widdowson 7, Holness 8, Jones 8, Grimes 7 (Barnes-Homer 6, 72), Adams 8, Balkestein 8, Tutte 8 (Barry-Murphy 6, 86), Akpa Akpro 7, Ball 7 (Kennedy 6, 77). Subs not used: Trotman, Lucas.
Referee: Graham Salisbury