Dino Maamria pointed his finger firmly at the officials for denying Stevenage the chance to move into the League Two play-offs following a 1-1 with Exeter.
A win would have seen Maamria’s men leapfrog the Grecians into seventh in the table but they were left to settle for a share of the spoils – and the Boro boss was left seething as his team were not awarded a “blatant” penalty at the death.
Kurtis Guthrie, who had earlier netted only to see Ryan Bowman cancel out his opener, went down in added time as a clutch of bodies tussled in the box, but referee Ollie Yates and his assistants were unmoved and no spot-kick was awarded.
“I think it’s a blatant penalty in the 92nd minute. All over the country, all over the world, it’s a penalty,” said Maamria.
“Kurtis Guthrie tries to control the ball and the centre-back goes into the back of him. He jumped into the back of him and the referee gave a free-kick the other way.
“I’m not sure the referee had enough about him. It was a big call for him, a match decider, and he’s made the easy decision, which makes it a draw.”
The in-form Guthrie scored his sixth goal in four games when he fired home from Luther Wildin’s cross midway through the first period but Exeter’s Bowman levelled matters five minutes before the break with a deflected strike.
The point leaves Stevenage two points off the play-off positions in 10th, with Maamria also revealing that he was far from satisfied with the playing surface at the Lamex Stadium.
He said: “It was a difficult game. We gave it everything we’ve got.
“I think we got a standing ovation from the fans because of our effort, the endeavour, the purpose.
“The ground staff not cutting the grass short enough didn’t benefit us but we’ll sort that out another time.”
A tight finish to the race for the top seven beckons, with Exeter occupying the final play-off berth.
Exeter manager Matt Taylor said: “I was pleased with the performance. I was disappointed to go behind in the manner that we did.
“We reacted really well and I felt we were making the running in that game. There weren’t a host of clear-cut opportunities but they were good enough opportunities for ourselves.
“Stevenage are a good team; a team in form and were trying to win the game the same as us.
“It was an exciting game to watch and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.
“The play-off positions and the table the way it is – there are going to be ups and downs for the next two games.
“We’re giving ourselves a chance.”