Tom Roberts was left with mixed feelings as Holbeach United raced into a three-goal lead and only picked up one point.
The Tigers’ boss was happy with the positive reponse after he had demanded a big improvement following three defeats in four games.
But he was critical of the performance from referee Gavin Jolley – particularly over the second penalty given to AFC Kempston Rovers who made it 3-3 at Carter’s Park.
Sean Coughlan, Jordan Thomas and Stacy Cartwright had put Holbeach 3-0 up after 14 minutes on Saturday.
In the second half, though, Jamaine Ivy pulled one back and Dom Marsala converted twice from the spot to keep Kempston’s unbeaten record this season.
Roberts reflected: “What a response from the start!
“We asked for that but to go 3-0 up inside the opening 15 minutes was fantastic.
“We knew that Sean would make an impact and they could not deal with his pace.
“Everything else we did was very positive but we know that Kempston are a resilient side, as they showed in the second half.
“The first penalty was probably a correct decision.
I don’t like to blame the referee but he certainly had a big impact on this game. There probably wasn’t a bad tackle in the game.Tom Roberts
“But the second one should not have been given because Matt Warfield was fouled in the build-up and then his foul is outside the box.
“So it’s a shame that a game of football like that between two good sides was spoiled by the man in the middle.
“I don’t like to blame the referee but he certainly had a big impact on this game. There probably wasn’t a bad tackle in the game.
“It’s frustrating in the end but, to be honest, we would have taken a point against a very good side.
“I can’t knock any of our lads but the referee missed elbows on Cartwright and Warfield.
“The performance from my team is something to build on. We’ve shown what we can do but these are the games which will really count.”
“Now we need to put things right at Rothwell Corinthians as we were very poor at home to them.”
Tuesday night’s trip to Rothwell should see a return to the Holbeach squad for Jamie Stevens, Nick Jackson, Ollie Gale and Jack Smith.