Thomas Baillie conceded Kettering Town were “below par” as they battled out a poor 0-0 draw with Marlow at Latimer Park.
But despite a lack of entertainment on the pitch, it turned out to be a useful point gained as the Poppies moved a step closer towards the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central.
Second-placed Bedworth United suffered a second successive home defeat as they lost 1-0 to Godalming Town and that result, coupled with Kettering’s stalemate, ensured the Poppies extended their advantage at the summit to nine points.
Their game in hand on Bedworth arrives on Tuesday night when they take on Egham Town at Latimer Park.
But joint-manager Baillie was left to reflect on a poor encounter, which ended with the right result.
“We were below par, the game was a bit stop-start and we have played a lot better than that,” he said.
“In the end, the result was fair. We didn’t do enough to win it and I don’t think they deserved to lose.
“They set up for a draw and there was a lot of time wasting. They set their stall out and it worked for them.
“It was a bit lacklustre and we never really got going. But we have done well recently and there are a few walking wounded out there.
“One or two played when they were doubtful even on the morning of the game but we soldiered through it and tried to get the win.
“It didn’t happen but, ultimately, it was a point gained when you look at the other results.”
Baillie, meanwhile, was critical of referee Guy Stretton who failed to send visiting defender Dan Hicks off after he fouled Elliot Sandy in the first half when he appeared to be the last man.
The official was replaced by one of his assistants Scott Postin at the break due to an injury but neither referee escaped Baillie’s criticism.
“Without a doubt they should have been down to 10 men in the first half,” he added.
“Their lad has brought Elliot down, the referee has given the free-kick and when he makes that decision the boy has to go.
“But he hasn’t done it and I actually felt that both referees were particularly weak.”