STEVEN Schumacher described Chris Lines’ late penalty as “very soft” as Bury were downed 2-1 at Bristol Rovers.

With five minutes to play Ryan Cooney was adjudged to have brought down Kyle Bennett, allowing Lines to fire home and complete a Rovers comeback at the Memorial Stadium.

Neil Danns had fired the Shakers in front after 54 minutes with a curling effort before Dom Telford’s equaliser.

But first team coach Schumacher was left incensed by referee Lee Collins’ decision to award a spot kick in the 85th minute, a decision which moved the Shakers closer to relegation.

He said: “I was convinced at the time that Ryan [Cooney] got a toe to the ball before Bennett went across him and fell. Having viewed the incident again after the match, I still think that.

“It was a very soft penalty and the sort of thing that happens when you are bottom of the table. But we can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves.”

Ollie Clarke’s ninth-minute volley from the edge of the box was too hot to hold for Bury goalkeeper Connor Ripley, who recovered to cling on to Tom Nichols’ follow-up header.

Nichols got the ball tangled between his feet when Ellis Harrison’s 33rd-minute shot was deflected into his path 12 yards out. Then Nichols headed wide at the near post from a Bennett free kick.

It was Bury who forced the best save of the first half on 43 minutes when a Danns volley at the far post from Zeli Ismail’s corner was palmed away by Sam Slocombe.

Rovers were looking dangerous and Ripley was brought into action to save a long-range strike from Clarke.

The two goals in the space of 11 minutes lifted the game as both sides went for the jugular in the final stages.

Ripley saved well from Harrison late on, but could do nothing to keep out Lines, who sent him the wrong way from the spot.

The result leaves Bury 12 points away from safety at the bottom of League One but Schumacher insists his side will keep fighting until the end.

He said: “After a decent start, we were happy enough to get in at half time at 0-0 because we had let them into it, but I felt we grew into the game in the second half and took the lead with a very well taken goal from Neil Danns.

“The equaliser was a poor goal from our point of view and resulted from a number of mistakes, but we still feel we should have taken something, only for the key decision to go against us.

“It’s another defeat, but the lads are battling and we will not give up until it is mathematically impossible for us to avoid relegation.

“There is a derby against Rochdale to look forward to on Tuesday night and it’s another chance to boost our points tally.”