GARY Rowett was again left bemoaning a poor display from a referee after his Burton Albion side lost 2-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge.
The Brewers conceded a debatable early penalty to Zavon Hines at Victoria Road and it changed the course of the game.
Despite some bright moments, a second Daggers goal from Luke Howell just after half-time gave Albion a mountain to climb and they lost away in League Two for just the second time this season.
“You could argue it’s about me crying over spilt milk, but it’s once again that I feel it’s outside influences have cost us a chance to win the game,” said an aggrieved Rowett.
“I felt as though the two goals came from two decisions that were made.
“We talk about it all the time and it almost gets boring in the end.
“I know the officials are human and they don’t mean to do it.
“They set out at the start of the game to have as good a game as the players hope for.
“But I have to say that once again, unfortunately for me and the team, the referee’s performance has dictated the scoreline to a certain degree.”
Rowett felt Phil Edwards’ challenge on Hines did not warrant a spot kick and it certainly appeared that the right-back pulled out of the challenge before the pacy winger hit the deck.
“The penalty was clearly no penalty,” said the manager. “Phil has pulled his leg away and Hines, I think, has actually kicked his own foot and fallen down.
“The ref actually said ‘no’ to himself in front of the players and then gave the penalty.
“I can only be bitterly disappointed with that.”
Albion faced an uphill battle at a ground where they have not won in 10 years and Rowett was full of praise for a quick Dagenham side - although without the early penalty, he felt the match would have been much closer.
“They were good but I don’t believe there would have been an awful lot in the game up until that point,” he said.
“Suddenly you’re trying to chase the game and it’s 2-0 down and you’ve got to open up the game.
“I felt that we had some very, very good chances from set pieces.
“We created four or five good opportunities from set pieces where we got a man around the back and didn’t capitalise at all on those situations.
“In the first half we got three or four good balls into the box that fell and didn’t get a break or maybe didn’t gamble enough on it.
“Then the game is open and you know Dagenham are good at it because they’ve got lots of pace in the side.
“But to a certain degree those spaces were dictated to us because we were chasing the game.
“Fair play to Dagenham, they’ve come away with a 2-0 win, but I think the game would’ve been a hell of a lot closer and a hell of a lot more competitive and I don’t think there’d have been a lot in it had decisions gone as they should have.”
Away from the penalty - and a farcical decision to book Edwards for two minor fouls - Rowett was a tad disappointed with what he saw at times from Albion, although there were some bright moments.
“I could say for a portion, I’m disappointed with the way some of the players have played,” he said.
“I thought Adam McGurk was excellent today. He was as good as any player on the pitch.
“I just feel as though one or two needed to do a bit more to help him out.
“I’m thoroughly disappointed. It’s a long way to come. If I talked about Dagenham being terrific and playing us off the park and battering us, I could go home and hold my hands up.
“I’m not trying to take anything away from them, but I’m disappointed with other areas of the match.”