Neil Aspin said he was proud of his FC Halifax Town players after they battled to an entertaining 1-1 draw with Cambridge at the Shay.
Town maintained their record of scoring in every home league game this season as Lee Gregory equalised Tom Elliott’s opener.
The Town boss admitted his side started slowly and were second-best early on, but felt his team were full value for a share of the spoils.
He said: “We were fortunate to not go behind in the first 10 minutes, I felt we were really sloppy and could have got punished.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks very well which is disappointing because at home we’ve tended to start games well.
“I was relieved when we got into the game and then once we found our feet then I felt we matched them.
“I’m really proud of the players’ efforts. Some games when you draw it feels like a defeat but this game feels like a win because when you’re playing against a team that’s been at the top all season, when you’re down to 10 men, when you feel you’ve been robbed of a goal that goes against you and the player who scores it should have been marked by the player who went off injured, you feel you’ve had a bit of bad luck there.
“But I’m really pleased with the players and I’ve always said if they give 100 per cent effort and committment that’s all I ask regardless of the result.”
Aspin was unhappy at referee Darren Handley’s decision to award Cambridge the free-kick which led to their goal after a challenge on Cambridge full-back Gregg Taylor.
He said: “It definitely wasn’t a free-kick, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder and I don’t think anybody in the ground would have given a free-kick apart from the referee.
“Yes, you can say we’ve still got a chance to defend the free-kick but we’re unfortunate that the man who scored should have been getting picked up by Lois Maynard, who had just limped off.
“It was a real kick in the teeth but the response was fantastic.”
Craig Clay and Marlon Jackson both made their debuts for Town after joining the club last week, and Aspin said both players will be useful signings, and that they’d come to the Shay for the right reasons.
He said: “Craig trained with us but Marlon didn’t because we only got him in on Thursday so I decided to start with Craig and put Marlon on the bench because he’s got some pace.
“They’re both good additions to our squad. Players who come to this club come here to get their careers going, they don’t come for the money because we don’t pay enough to tempt them with money.
“Every player comes with a point to prove and because they want to play football.
“They know that if they do the business here it can get their careers started again.
“It’s testament to both of them that they’ve come, and to Jon Challinor, because it’s not about money, it’s all about playing football.”