Ryan Hindley believed his Worksop Town players deserved at least a point from their narrow midweek defeat to rivals Handsworth Parramore - in a feisty NCEL Premier clash marred with controversy.
Tigers were reduced to nine-men in the second half after second yellow cards were shown to Matt Thompson and Kyle Jordan, as Handsworth held on to take the first Sandy Lane derby of the season.
Hindley had no complaints over the two dismissals for his players but claimed numbers should have been equal as tempers frayed in the closing stages, which saw Tigers also denied a penalty kick.
Jordan had earlier cancelled out Jon Froggatt’s opener and Aaron Moxam got what proved to be the winner but a frustrated Hindley could not hide his disappointment when speaking to the Worksop Guardian.
He said: “It’s very difficult to win a football game when the referee wants to be star of the show.
“I’m bitterly disappointed for the players after the performance that they gave and the work rate that they gave; they deserved more from the game.
“I thought Handsworth were excellent. They were big and solid and played with a purpose; a very good side and my favourites to win the league.
“My players didn’t deserve to lose; they deserved at least a point. We were excellent and matched them in more ways than one.
“The only disappointment really in the performance was that we’ve not worked their keeper and they’ve not worked our keeper.
“It was a game of chess between two of the big boys in the league.”
And added: “It was a good game to be involved in but it was one spoiled heavily by some shocking decisions.
“People need to look at who referees these types of games because they’re big games and you need strong people who have refereed in front of big crowds before.
“Unfortunately, for me, the referee has spoiled the game. We’ve had a stonewall penalty - anyone in the ground would have given - apart from the referee.
“I don’t want to bemoan the ref. They’re there to do a job and without them we don’t have football games. The main thing is my lads at the minute are giving everything.
“We’ve got nine points from a possible 12 and as a manager who is building a new side I would have snapped your hand off, if that had been offered.”
Injuries and impending suspensions will leave Tigers’ forward line thin on the ground, with Hindley hinting at bringing in another striker.
“I think we need to look at a different option up top,” he said. “Maybe a 6’4” target man who can win headers and bring wide men into play.
“I’m backing my lads. We know we’ve got a week to 10 days to bring someone in to cover what’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.”
Tigers will look to bounce back at home to Albion Sports on Saturday after seeing their 100 per cent league record fall away and Hindley has challenged his troops.
“We’re learning about each other and we go into Albion with the only pressure on people is stay up around the top four - stay for as long as you can,” he said.
“The only way you can stay up there is by winning football games so we need to go and put a performance in on Saturday.
“We’ll make a few changes, which I’ve already said to the lads we will do, to freshen it up a bit because it’s a grueling schedule.
“We’re not full time professionals, we’re not having ice baths and rubs and everything else, we play then before you know it we’re playing again.
And added: “We go and win on Saturday and the world’s a better place. The lads are hurting, which is great. There were some choice words after the game and I love that. It shows they care.”