Head coach Richie Wellens hopes Leyton Orient will have exhausted their ‘bad luck’ in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Crewe Alexandra.
Bassala Sambou’s stoppage-time goal sent Les Cheminots through to the second round, after O’s had two goals disallowed and Craig Clay showed a red card late in the game.
And Wellens struggled to hide his frustration as he discussed his Premier League side’s exit from the competition at Gresty Road.
“There’s no point talking about the referee. He was poor in many aspects of the game, he probably cost us two goals and then dismissal,” he told the club’s website.
“We know what Craig is, he’s an honest player, he slipped up, took the ball and when you take the ball your knee follows him and he catches the boy.
“For me it wasn’t even a yellow, let alone a red. We discussed whether we would appeal or not, but it was a bad call.
“We had a bit of bad luck and hopefully we used it all in the cup.”
Charlie Kelman had a scored debut effort, after being ruled for fouling Arthur Okonkwo, and substitute Paul Smyth was disallowed with an offside flag in the final quarter of the match.
And there was even doubt as to whether the ball had gone out of play in the build-up to Crewe’s latest winner.
“Because of the camera angle, it’s so far away, we need those cameras that zoom in. It was harder to say. I wouldn’t blame them for that lens,” Wellens added.
“The others, their goalkeeper slips to catch it, he got away, he dropped it. Kelman comes in and takes a throw-in, took it around and then he scores.
“Paul Smyth is there when he’s one-on-one, but we also have to take a chance.
“We were unlucky with Moncs [George Moncur] who hit the bar, so Smudger went one-on-one and should just reconcile it with Idris [El Mizouni] and that’s a guaranteed goal.
“I’ve been involved in so many games like this where if you don’t take a chance you run the risk of losing 1-0.”
The O’s were again cheered on by their loyal traveling supporters in a crowd of 2,104 as the club introduced free coach trips.
And Wellens admitted he was disappointed for them, having seen his side suffer just one defeat in 16 league appearances so far this season.
“I’m disappointed for the traveling supporters because you want a cup race, I just felt our levels went down a bit from it,” he said.
“When you’re working at intensity levels to stay on top of the league week in and week out and you get that little game where if you get five percent out of it, which I think we’ve done, even though we should ‘ I easily won the match, it can cost you and it costs us today.”
With a rescheduled league match at Wimbledon on Tuesday, Wellens admitted he probably tinkered with his team too much.
But he felt O’s still had more than enough in his locker to have made progress, adding: “I pick every team to win. We picked a team to win. I know we’ve made changes but we’ve picked a team to win and what we’ve seen with the evidence we should win the game.
“Small things went against us. The fact is that we didn’t defend a cross close to the post and we let a striker cross us and we got beaten 1-0. Worst case scenario we should from here 0-0 and we have a replay.
“I probably made too many changes, but we’ve had Wimbledon since the Queen died, so I have to think about Tuesday as well as this Saturday.
“Moncs needed the minutes because he hasn’t trained for a while, hasn’t played, and Jordan [Brown]Shad [Ogie] needed a game, because if we have something wrong with the centre-halves, he has to be able to play and he has minutes under him.”