Disappointed Alfreton Town manager Billy Heath told his players to keep their chins up after a late collapse saw them lose 3-2 to struggling York City.
The Reds conceded two late goals to the visitors after squandering a 70th minute penalty — one of three in the match — to make it 3-1 and remain 15th in National League North.
Heath said: “We deserved to win the game. The result will say otherwise, but there was only one team that deserved to win the game.
“We got ourselves 2-1 up going down the slope and if we scored the (second) penalty we surely go on to win.”
Reece Styche, who had netted a first-half penalty to make it 1-1, saw his second spot-kick smash against the bar as he attempted to complete a hat-trick.
York then levelled five minutes from time through an audacious overhead kick from Alex Kempster at a corner.
Three minutes later Martin Riley was judged to have impeded Paddy McLaughlin and Jordan Burrow lashed home the third penalty of the afternoon to seal an unlikely York victory.
Heath added: “We defended well enough all game and then literally from the corner we defend the first header but the lad hooks it right into the stanchion — almost in slow motion.
“Then obviously the penalty decision. (It was) a difficult one. I’m not convinced, but the referee’s given it.
“Everyone’s bitterly disappointed, but l said to the players to get their chins up, because they were magnificent.
“Taking on a full-time side with massive resources, massive support and for (yet) large parts of the game we were far better.
“l was pleased with the performance. (In the) first half we got ourselves back in the game after giving away a poor goal, then when we scored the second goal.
“We knew from their reaction where we could cause them problems and we did exactly that.
“It’s a hard one to take, probably one of the hardest ones all season, but like l say it’s always ‘Catch 22’ because the players have been great again, “They’ve given everything, put everything in, but (we are) so disappointed to lose two late goals.”
On Saturday the Reds travel to 12th placed Curzon Ashton.