Carshalton Athletic assistant manager Curtis Warmington was pleased to see the Robins display “real character” despite defeat in a pulsating game at Canvey Island.
Warmington took charge of the trip with manager Stuart Massey absent and he watched his charges reduced to nine men in a game that had it all.
Carshalton twice came from behind and seemed likely to bring something home from Essex, but a soft 88th minute penalty gave the hosts a 3-2 win and leaves the Robins rooted to second from bottom in the Ryman Premier League.
Warmington said: “We keep trying to drum into the players that if their performance is good, results will follow. We didn’t get the rub of the green today but I was really proud of their effort."
Carshalton’s goals came via a first-half Lewis Taylor penalty and a first for Jordan Wilson with 20 minutes remaining, while central defenders Tony Sinclair and Charlie McCarthy hit the Canvey woodwork with headers during the second-half.
“We showed real character to come back twice and we had Canvey on the back foot for periods of the game," Warmington added.
"A neutral would not have been able to say which team was fighting relegation and which was six unbeaten in mid-table."
Carshalton left Essex pointless as, in between late dismissals for Paris Hamilton-Downes and Matt Males, the referee awarded a contentious penalty after Canvey sub Scott Kinch went to ground easily, while contesting a loose ball on the Robins’ 18-yard line.
“I went in to see the referee afterwards as I wasn’t very happy with a few late decisions, especially the sending offs,” said Warmington.
“I felt Paris was unfortunate because he simply cleared the ball a split-second after Billy Dunn fouled their guy, but the ref said it was time-wasting and gave a second yellow.
“As for Matt, his foul wasn’t nasty and their guy bounced straight back up as soon as the red card came out, but the ref said Matt also swore at him,” he added.
“However, from our point of view, that showed a lack consistency because a Canvey player appeared to do the same thing in first-half with no retribution.”
Carshalton welcome Hendon to Colston Avenue on Tuesday evening, and Warmington believes the squad will be up for the challenge.
“We’ve performed well for three out of our past four matches, only losing today via two penalties and a mis-hit cross-shot, so we should feel confident.
"Every game in this league is a test however so we need to maintain our intensity,” he added.