Runcorn Linnets were lucky to come away with a point against rivals Widnes, manager Dave Wild admitted.
Jamie Rainford returned to the top of the goalscoring charts with his 94th-minute goal as the promotion hopefuls dragged themselves to a point.
Michael Ellison’s Widnes took a deserved lead with 16 minutes remaining but were the better side throughout the contest despite going down to 10 men before half-time.
“A hundred per cent, we didn’t deserve anything from the game,” he told Off The Park.
“We deserved nothing from the game and I feel for Ello there because they were absolutely outstanding, we got out of jail in a very big way.”
Linnets’ formidable run continued as they remain unbeaten since mid-November. However, their point at the DCBL Stadium meant that they were leapfrogged by rivals Leek Town – who came from behind to beat Bootle 3-2.
But Wild had to thank his goalkeeper, Danny Taberner, and not for the first time this season. He only describe it as a “really poor day”.
The Linnets boss added: “I’m pleased to stay unbeaten and look if you’re not going to win, you have to draw away from home.
“You win your home games and draw your away games, I’m left bitterly disappointed with individual and collective performances right across the board – apart from Tabs – two to 17 we were so below par it was unbelievable. Really poor day, it’s been a long time since I’ve said that so we just keep moving.”
Steven Irwin was sent off before the break but the visitors couldn’t make the man advantage count. The Linnets boss had nothing but praise for their neighbours.
“At no point did we look like the team with an extra man, they did,” he continued. “We looked like the team with 10 men. It’s rare I say this but they were outstanding, I’m not saying that because I’m bitter, they were outstanding from minute one to 90.
“When we scored I half felt bad, obviously delighted to get the goal, we didn’t deserve anything – it’s rare I speak like this.
“Absolutely no idea [how it happened] I’m not going to make any excuses. I couldn’t tell you.
“Sort yourselves out [is the message] because if we’re going to go where we want to go, because we are, that can’t be replicated otherwise we’ll have to start making changes. That isn’t a threat, I don’t like being like that, but that won’t happen again for a while. It will happen at some point because it’s football but it won’t happen for a while.”
Their attention now turns to City of Liverpool on Boxing Day and Wild issued a three-word message on whether a response will be needed for the visit of Paul McNally’s side.
“We’ll get one,” he concluded.