BURY boss David Flitcroft was left frustrated by refereeing decisions he believed cost his side during a fiery derby-day defeat at Rochdale.

Both Kean Bryan and Jacob Mellis were shown late red cards as the Shakers' winless league run against Dale was extended to eight games, courtesy of goals from Ian Henderson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

Tempers began to flare when when referee Peter Bankes awarded the hosts a penalty for an apparent foul by Jacob Mellis on Matthew Lund in the 37th minute, with the Bury boss claiming Lund had dived to win the spot kick.

“Their bench, Chris Beech (Rochdale assistant manager), totally accepted it and told the fourth official that the kid had dived,” Flitcroft claimed after the game.

“When it happens in the Premiership we all go mental. People think that it means more but it means a lot to me, it means a lot to my staff and it means a lot to my supporters.

“When I see a player diving and actually looking for it, and then the referee actually giving it, I find it disgusting. It needs taking out of the football game.”

Dale forward Henderson converted the resulting spot kick – but after an extremely tight first half Bury began to grow into the game after the break.

Striker James Vaughan had a goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half, but a sucker-punch strike from Mendez-Laing in the 74th minute stopped any hopes of a revival.

Bury began to lose their discipline and three minutes later Bryan threw himself into a high tackle on Andy Cannon which resulted in a straight red card. All 22 players were involved in a melee that followed and the referee dished out a host of yellow cards in a bid to regain control, with the visitors picking up seven cautions in total during the game.

The afternoon got worse for the Shakers four minutes from time when Mellis was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence – leaving Flitcroft disappointed with his side's lack of discipline.

“The frustration from my players, I've got to work on that and make sure that we get the discipline better and get them refocused,” Flitcroft added.

“At the minute we are clocking up too many yellow cards and too many red cards.

"Certainly internally I'll be sorting that out."

Mellis and midfield partner Tom Soares had only just returned from a one-match suspension for racking up five yellow cards.

But while the Bury boss was unhappy with some of his players' behaviour, he was pleased with the commitment shown as they never shied away from a tackle or let their heads drop before the second goal went in.

“These players didn't deserve to walk off this pitch defeated today," Flitcroft said. "Rochdale put up a fantastic performance, but the performance from our players for 70 minutes of the game was good.

“Sometimes I look at a derby and it's a damp squib – this one wasn't. There were challenges going in, good challenges.

“In the cold light of day it's two goals conceded, nine men on the pitch only and I have got to now try and pick the bones out of that.”

Match ratings

Bury (4-4-1-1): Williams 7; Maher 6, Bryan 4, Kay 5, Leigh 5; Ismail 5 (Hope 59 6), Soares 6, Mellis 5, Mayor 5; Danns 5 (Miller 71 5); Vaughan 5. Not used: Rachubka, Burgess, Etuhu, Tutte, Walker.

Rochdale (4-3-3): Lillis; Rafferty, Keane, Canavan, Bunney; Lund, Camps, Henderson; Andrew, Mendez-Laing (Odelusi 89), Davies (Cannon 69).

Not used: Logan, McGahey, McDermott, Rathbone, Morley.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).

Attendance: 5,344 (no visiting attendance given).