ROTHERHAM United boss Paul Warne disputed the sending-off of Angus MacDonald after the ten-man League One leaders' promotion hopes suffered a setback at AESSEAL New York Stadium this afternoon.
The Millers were beaten 3-0 by Shrewsbury Town as Wigan Athletic and MK Dons both closed in on them at the summit of the division.
Centre-half MacDonald received a straight red card in the first half, two minutes after the Shrews had taken the lead, for an aerial challenge on Luke Leahy.
“I thought Angus led with his arm and didn't actually elbow the lad," said Warne. "It was a big turning point."
The visitors made the most of their extra numbers to score two more goals after the break and inflict a heaviest defeat of the season on the home side.
"It's a bad day at the office but we are going to lose matches," Warne said.
“I thought the game was pretty even in the first half. We were not at our best against a very good side. We knew they were going to be tough because they are one of the in-form sides in the league.
"We tried to stay in the game as long as could. It's hard to press when you are down to ten men because you are going to get popped off.
“It's a setback, obviously, but the lads have bounced back before."
Rotherham, whose next outing is the Papa John's Trophy Final in a fortnight, are now without a league match until April 9
"We will give the players a couple of days away from football to reset,” Warne said.
Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill believes Cumbria official Anthony Backhouse got the dismissal decision right.
“We have had players sent off for less this season," he said. "I thought the referee was brave to give it against a team who are top of the table and in front of a partisan crowd.
“We had control of the game."