Paul Lambert couldn't fault the players efforts as they went down 2-1 at Ewood to Preston North End.
Rovers started brightly with a first goal for Elliott Ward, but the sending off of Shane Duffy and subsequent penalty to Preston always made it tough for the home side.
Trailing at the break, and despite being a man down, Rovers gave their all in the second half and should have had a spot-kick of their own with the manager once again left bemused by decisions from those officiating.
"We did ever so well with ten men, at times you wouldn't think we were a man light, I couldn't fault them," Lambert told Radio Rovers.
"I've always said that there's a way to get beat, and if you get beat then make sure you've not an ounce of energy left and you've done a shift.
"I thought we started the game really, really well and looked really good and got a well deserved goal.
"But then Danny Graham is fouled on the edge of their box, that should have been a free-kick as Danny has nutmegged him.
"Why the referee never gave it I don't know, but it wasn't his only decision that was baffling. It was there for everybody to see.
"The ref lets the ball go upfield, Shane slips on the line, but it is hand ball and you've no complaints about losing that, but it shouldn't have happened anyway."
But whilst Lambert had no qualms about the penalty decision at one end, he could point to one at the other in the second half that should have gone Rovers way.
Jordi Gomez slipped substitute Chris Brown into the area and the striker was sent crashing to the ground under a challenge from Bailey Wright.
But despite huge appeals, the referee awarded Preston a goal kick and booked the Rovers striker for simulation.
Lambert added: "There was a certainly a case for a penalty. Chris Brown has got the ball on his right side and the lad hasn't got the chance to win the ball. Jordi Gomez was fouled before it so if you play an advantage then pull it back and give it to Jordi Gomez if you aren't going to give a penalty.
"We tried to get the second goal, we went three at the back in the second half with two up top, but it just wasn't there, that can happen.
"The lads gave everything they had for the club which is great, ten men for 70-odd minutes is a big ask in a derby game, but that first goal should never have been."
Rovers are back in action this Tuesday night when they travel to take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
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