BURY finally have lift-off under Kevin Blackwell – even though it took spot kicks to separate the sides at Spotland.

Trevor Carson was the hero, the Northern Irishman saving from Dale defender Phil Edwards, before Andy Bishop and Adam Lockwood converted their penalties to leave the Shakers with a perfect record on the night.

It could now give the Gigg Lane men a boost heading into Saturday's League One game with Crawley Town where they go in search of a first three points of the season.

Blackwell can't have been impressed by what he saw in the first half, when his side seemed second to each loose ball and a yard slower than their League Two opponents.

Dale had hit the bar in the first minute through Ray Putterill, and led deservedly at the break thanks to a fine finish from Ashley Grimes, who had cut in from the left flank to curl a shot inside Trevor Carson's far post.

All Bury offered in response was a tame Marcus Marshall effort gathered easily by keeper Ben Smith and a header from Andy Bishop – making his first start since being recalled from a loan spell at Wrexham.

Things changed quickly after the interval and after starting at a much higher tempo, the Shakers were awarded a penalty when Tom Hopper's shot was charged down, referee Robert Madley ruling a handball against Matt Pearson.

Steven Schumacher converted at the second attempt after seeing his spot kick saved initially by Ben Smith.

It stayed nip and tuck until 10 minutes before the end, when Dale's Craig Curran was handed a straight red for a studs-up challenge on keeper Carson as he challenged for the loose ball.

But Bury couldn't make the man advantage tell – with the closest they came to grabbing a winner being Peter Sweeney's dipping free kick.