Widnes manager Dave Dempsey was left disappointed after his side were beaten by rivals Runcorn Linnets.
The eight-goal thriller brought their two-game winning run to a close with Iwan Murray taking home the matchball for Calum McIntyre’s side.
Widnes were reduced to 10-men when captain Michael Burke was sent off.
The defeat sees them sit three points adrift of the relegation play-off with two games in hand.
Dempsey was left feeling aggrieved as he thought his side were at a slight disadvantage in the build-up to two of Linnets’ goals.
“The referee in the first half, for me, absolutely killed us. The two goals we conceded were preventable from the right refereeing decision,” he told Off the Park.
“First goal their players has come from four yards offside blocked the run of the centre who the struggled to clear the second phase of the set-piece which he would’ve done easily. Then the foul that led to the free-kick for the second goal was no way a free-kick.
“I thought we give a good account of ourselves for the first 45 minutes, went in knowing we were well in the game, it was frustration with referee decisions that I felt cost us.
“Second half we were hard to play against we got the equaliser and my full-back went off with a nose injury where he has speckles of blood on his shirt, he’s out his blood shirt on, stood on the side, the balls gone out three times, the referee hasn’t took time to check his shirt let the game go on.
“The physio has shouted over, he’s ignored it and we’ve conceded in that moment the balls fell to where the right-back would’ve been and it’s been put in the bottom corner. I felt we gave a good account of ourselves and if decisions had gone the way they should’ve gone we probably would’ve got something out of the game.
“But that’s football, you have to take the rough with the smooth. We’ll have decisions go for us through the season, scored three goals against Runcorn Linnets which we’re pleased about. We conceded five buds I do feel that three of them were refereeing errors.”
Despite the sense of frustration firmly printed in Dempsey’s mind, he spoke highly of his opposite number and saw positives in the performance.
He added: “We’ll always score goals, we’ve got a good attacking unit and a defensive unit as well. We’ve had a game where we’ve had every that could’ve gone against us did and I’ve got a lot of respect for Calum [McIntyre] and what he’s done at Runcorn, they are a good side who play good football.
“There was nothing in the game, for me as biased as it may sound, we got undone by the referee and the lads were absolutely devastated. The fourth goal was preventable a sloppy challenge which led to the second free-kick. The fifth goal in all honesty, we were 4-3, down to 10 men, sent bodies up it’s the last minute and they’ve broke on us.
“It was one of those situations where we either conceded or they scored. They’ve gone and punished us which is what good sides do. We’ve scored three goals which is pleasing, that’s nine we’ve scored in three games so plenty of positives just frustration [about the result] still.
“We need to manage moments in the game better, more secure possession and build on our attacks. We’re quite wasteful when we’re going forward, when they clear we don’t manage to pick up second balls a lot of the time, which Runcorn managed to do to us.
“That’s a massive thing in our league is to pick up on seconds and pick up the ball in right areas of the pitch, we have done that in the past and when we have won games we’ve done it really well and when we lose it’s something we’ve done not so great. It’s game by game, we’ve played Runcorn Linnets who had picked up one point in two and who come to us with a lot to prove after the Marine game.
“It was a really really good game for the neutral but unfortunately for us we were on the wrong end of a few results and we never got the result we wanted. Credit to Runcorn, I’m not slating them saying that they were poor and we deserved to hammer them because we didn’t, it was a close game and you can see the good work that’s going on there but it’s just a frustrating one from our side.”
The defeat saw positives and negatives for Widnes as they saw Kyle Sambor score a late consolation goal, his first since an injury lay-off, but will now see their skipper miss the next game through suspension.
“I’ve got no problems with the red card and testament to the lads they shown that grit [going down to 10 men] and that togetherness. We’ve had three red cards in seven games and that in itself isn’t good enough. The actual incident, I can understand why he gave it.
“Burkey will be a miss from the group, the warm up, he’s a big character that we’ve got in the dressing room. But that’s what the squad is for, with Burkey out it’s a chance for someone to stake their claim for the shirt now.
“Kyle’s [Sambor] hasn’t started because he’s coming back from injury and because of how well Alex McMillan’s kicked on. It’s been tough to get him in, he’s shown a great attitude. He’s trained hard, worked well, stayed positive and to come on and score a goal it’s perfect – I’m made up for him.”