Struggling Bristol Rovers' misery continued with a 2-1 defeat at promotion-chasing Rochdale - but manager Mark McGhee insisted there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

The Pirates took the lead though David Clarkson's spot-kick after Peter Cavanagh's trip on the same player. But goals from Andrew Tutte and Bobby Grant - whose strike took a huge deflection off Fabien Broghammer - either side of the break turned the game on its head.

The visitors finished the match with nine men after Gary Kenneth and substitute Eliot Richards saw red in the second half. The result left Rovers just four points clear of rock-bottom Wycombe but McGhee insisted it wasn not all bad news. He said: "We have to take more of our chances and defend better set-pieces better, but I think we're working hard enough."

He added: "There was a lot of spirit put into the performance, we have just got to keep doing that and we'll be okay. We lost this game but there were a lot of good individual performances.

McGhee made no excuse for the two dismissals which will leave him with more selection headaches in the coming weeks.

He added: "We were horribly indisciplined for the two sendings off, and while losing the game was the worst thing, having the two players sent off in such circumstances was very disappointing."

For Rochdale boss John Coleman it was a relief to put in a decent performance on home soil. Dale's push for promotion has been built on their impressive away form - but displays at Spotland had been disappointing before this win.

"People can say the fans don't inspire the players, but I don't subscribe to that," he said. "I think it's up to the players to inspire the fans, and if they see hard work and effort, no matter what the score, they will respond, and they did today. They applauded the players off at half time even though it was only 1-1 at that stage.

"We had as many shots on goal in this game as we'd had in our previous three home games, and that shows you just how poor we've been in the home games. That says a lot about how bad we've been.

"Their goalkeeper made a few good saves before we equalised, and we left ourselves a little bit loose at the back at times, something we'll look to address. But when Josh was called upon he was excellent and there were some great performances and some great attacking play."