Lee Ashforth accused referee Michael Denton of 'killing' his side after Harrogate Railway were cruelly denied a much-needed boost at Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night.
The Railway boss felt aggrieved his side had not been awarded a penalty and questioned why two of Farsley’s goals were allowed to stand.
Steve Bromley gave Railway an unlikely lead inside five minutes as the visitors coped well against a side previously unbeaten in nine games.
Chris Ovington had two opportunities to extend the Railway lead on the stroke of half-time but his first shot was straight at goalkeeper Tom Taylor and the second flashed wide.
Farsley had been left to feed off scraps inside the box in the opening 45 minutes with Chris Howarth’s shot-over their only real opportunity.
The turning point came ten minutes into the second half with Railway’s second strong claim for a penalty. Captain Dan Thirkell made a burst from midfield but as he rounded Taylor, he was dubiously adjudged to have thrown himself to the floor and was issued a yellow card. Celtic made full use of their lucky escape by turning the game on its head in the final half an hour.
However, Ashforth felt their equaliser should not have been allowed following a foul on Will Peers – with the Railway midfielder still on the floor playing everyone on-side when Aiden Savory smashed home.
Railway’s boss also queried an altercation in the lead-up to Farsley’s second. Alex Low was floored inside the area before the ball was hammered into the top corner from a crisp Adam Clayton strike from 25 yards.
Clayton nodded home a cruel late blow from Jordan Deacey’s corner to give his side the points. But the controversy did not end there, as Railway were denied a second with one minute left on the clock. Substitute Callum Robinson fired a low strike into the bottom corner but Denton chalked it off for a questionable off-side offence against Tom Owen.
Ashforth said: "Luck plays a big part in football without a doubt. Some people say that you make your own luck, but the referee has killed us.
"It is a kick in the teeth to the players. If we get the penalty we go 2-0 up and we will go home with three points.
"It wasn't to be and five minutes later, as luck would have it, they got the equaliser.
"Again, Will Peers was fouled in the lead-up to the goal. He was laid down in the box injured and the referee played on and it played all their players onside when the rest of the team had pushed up.
"We were a bit naïve there but we feel we have put in a really good performance, it's just disappointing to come away without a point.
"These things happen. Nobody expected us to come here tonight and get anything and we have gone away with nothing again.
"But we have proved a few doubters wrong in the last two games when realistically we could have come away with six points. The players have to keep showing that belief and fighting spirit.
"Going into the games coming up, if we play like that we will pick up points.”