Pat Rayment has called for Spalding United to stick together in the final push for a promotion play-off place.
The Tulips manager felt “cheated” by Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at second-placed Newcastle Town where he was sent to the stands for arguing with the officials.
But he says they must “dig in” – starting with tonight’s home game against leaders Mickleover Sports in the Evo-Stik League First Division South.
Rayment said: “We were not outplayed at all but the officials have cost us two goals and disallowed what would have been an equaliser.
“Jamie Thurlbourne asked the referee if he could take a free-kick.
“The referee asked if he wanted 10 yards, he replied ‘no’ and knocked the ball into an empty net.
“The goal was disallowed and I got sent to the stand after that because the referee had retracted what he had said on the pitch.
“In my opinion he cheated us – that’s the bottom line of it. The officials were a disgrace and totally inept.
“We are definitely not getting the rub of the green with the officials.
“If they are not good enough then they should be sacked, like any other job.
“I know we are not playing that well and the spark is not there. It’s a bad time to be having a bad time!
“All teams go through it.
“We’ve got Mickleover at home but it doesn’t make any difference who we play because we know we are good enough to beat anyone in this league.
“It’s not about bringing in more signings now. These are testing times for us but we have to dig in together.
“It’s still in our own hands to finish in the top five with eight games to go.
“We know it’s not going to be easy and it hurt us dropping two points last midweek.”
Spalding dropped out of the top five over the weekend and Thurlbourne is a fitness doubt for tonight’s game due to a dead leg.
Rayment admits central defender Nathan Stainfield may be ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee problem in “a massive blow”.
Matty Nolan and Mitch Griffiths are both unavailable tonight.
Gregg Smith has joined Stamford while Dan Banister signed for the Tulips from St Ives Town.