Marcus Law felt Kettering Town “did enough” to earn a sole place in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round draw.
But the Poppies face a long trek to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday night to earn that place after the two teams battled out a 1-1 draw at Latimer Park.
After a poor start, Kettering fell behind with Brett Ormerod giving the lower-ranked Evo-Stik Northern League Division One North side the lead on 15 minutes.
The Poppies levelled seven minutes into the second half through Liam Canavan and, after Jamie McAlindon had saved a Jamie Milligan spot-kick, the hosts saw Andy Gooding hit the inside of the post while late claims for a penalty when goalkeeper Lee Dovey appeared to foul Courtney Baker-Richardson were waved away by referee Alistair Wilson.
Both teams will now be in tomorrow’s (Monday) draw and Poppies boss Law said: “After the response from what was, quite simply, a poor start I can give the boys credit.
“We rallied round and I thought we did enough to nick it.
“Our goalkeeper has saved a penalty and then right at the death there is a questionable decision.
“And we have missed a fantastic chance when Gooders (Gooding) has hit the inside of the post.
“It was an open cup game in the end. They definitely controlled things in the first half-hour but I thought the end of the first half was predominantly us.
“It was probably the reverse in the second half with them coming into it on the counter-attack at the back end of the game while we were trying to get a winner.
“Overall, it was probably a fair result but we are hanging on to the fact that we have hit the inside of the post as well as that penalty we felt we should have had at the end.”
Law reviewed the footage of that late decision before conducting his post-match interview and he was adamant the Poppies should have been awarded a stoppage-time penalty.
“The referee said he got the ball first but if a centre-half made that challenge it would have been a foul,” Law added.
“Just because the goalkeeper has an advantage with his hands, it doesn’t give him the licence to go through the back of someone and he has. He has gone through a body to get to the ball.
“The referee is saying he got the ball first but I am struggling to see that in the footage I have seen.
“But it is a tough job and we can’t hang our hat on that. We didn’t start in the first 20 minutes and that’s what has cost us.”
The draw for the fourth qualifying round will be made live on talkSPORT radio at 10.30am tomorrow morning.