Boss Graham Drury felt his side had been ‘robbed’ as Stamford saw their unbeaten home league record ended by promotion rivals Frickley Athletic on Saturday.
The Stamford players and management team were left seething at the award of an 84th minute corner that led to Frickley’s match-turning strike in a 4-2 success for the Yorkshire side.
It came just four minutes after Stamford had got back on level terms at 2-2 following a stunning free-kick from Jake Duffy.
And Drury felt the momentum would have been with his side who, despite the defeat, remain in the Evo-Stik League Division One South play-off places.
Drury said: “We’ve been robbed. We had worked so hard to get back into the game and, from that position, we looked like the team who would win it.
“But the linesman’s decision has killed us. Gavin Allott has admitted to me afterwards that he shanked the ball out of play and everyone else has seen that.
“I know we haven’t defended the corner, but I just knew they were going to score from it and felt it was going to happen.”
For a side that had the second best defensive record in the division going into the match, Stamford’s normally reliable rearguard struggled against a potent visiting attack.
After Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson had given Stamford the lead midway through the first period, a defensive mix-up handed the visitors their way back into the contest right on the stroke of half-time.
The home defence was then caught flat-footed after 73 minutes by a long ball that released Allott to give Frickley the initiative they needed.
Drury added: “It’s very frustrating because I thought we were the best team for the first 40 minutes.
“We made a bad decision which let them back into the game. Our management of the situation was poor because we took one or two touches on several occasions when we should have cleared our lines.
“It gifted them a way back into the game and changed both of the team talks at half-time because at 1-0 they had a tough task to turn it around.
“It was just one split decision that made a big difference to the second half and we came in feeling negative rather than positive.
“It affected how we started the second half and it took us a while to take over again. Delroy Gordon came in with a dead leg at half-time and he was struggling.
“He wanted to carry on though and I wanted him to but, if he hadn’t have been struggling, he would got round to cover for the second goal.
“We got the equaliser though and I believed we would go on and win the game, but they were very clinical up front which was the difference.
“Credit to Frickley because not many sides will come to Stamford this season and score four goals.”
Stamford made just one change to the starting line-up that had won at Lincoln United last weekend with Jordan Smith returning in attack in place of Bradley Wells who is back with Gainsborough Trinity following the completion of his loan spell.
The Daniels asserted their early authority on proceedings, none more than so than imposing central defender Henry Eze who won a number of aerial battles, one of which left Danny Frost in a heap on the floor and unable to take any further part in the contest.
After a couple of dangerous raids, Stamford took a 22nd minute lead when Liam Adams made a smart run down the right and crossed for Fortnam-Tomlinson to sweep home.
The visitors’ best chance fell to Jacob Hazel who broke clear but, with just Dan Haystead to beat, the prolific marksman dragged his shot wide.
Rob Morgan then steered an effort narrowly wide at the other end after a slick Stamford move that had started with an audacious back heel from Eze in his own penalty area.
Just as it looked as if Stamford would take a deserved interval lead, the visitors pounced on some indecisive Daniels defending as first Gordon and then Eliot Putman failed to clear and Hazel took full advantage with a confident finish past an exposed Haystead.
The goal rocked Stamford and they took some time after the break to regain their composure before Adams fired just over from distance while Smith was thwarted by an acrobatic block from Hugo Warhurst in the Frickley goal.
Putman headed just wide from a Ben George cross before Frickley took the lead for the first time with 17 minutes remaining.
A long clearance saw Allott race away and beat Haystead to the chase before firing home past the covering Gordon on the line.
Stamford went all out to get back on level terms and deservedly did so with 10 minutes remaining when substitute Sam Hollis was fouled and Duffy whipped home a superlative free-kick into the top corner of the Frickley net.
However, parity lasted just four minutes as Allott appeared to slice the ball out of play when attempting to cross. Much to the Daniels’ dismay a corner was awarded and Allott made a true connection this time as he rifled home at the far post after the ball had been headed back across goal.
The visitors’ over-zealous celebrations sparked a mass melee in front of the home dug-out and, after order had been restored, Stamford assistant boss Danny Hussey and the injured Joe Burgess were banished to the stands by referee Mark Tinsley.
As the match entered injury-time, Smith headed a decent opportunity wide from a Putman cross before Hazel made sure of the points for Frickley when he converted from close range after a strong run and cross from strike partner Allott to take their combined goal tally for the season to 33.
Stamford: Haystead, George, Putman, Armstrong, Gordon (Challinor), Eze, Morgan, Duffy, Smith, Adams (Brown-Hill), Fortnam-Tomlinson (Hollis). Not used: Darby.
Frickley: Warhurst, Bloor, Algar, Hough, Ible, Burns (Burton), Blake, Patterson, Hazel, Allott, Frost (Dawson). Not used: Dugdale, Stancliffe.