Reading manager Brian McDermott was furious with referee Mike Dean for his decision to allow Gareth Barry's winner in his side's loss at Manchester City.
Barry leaned on Nicky Shorey to head home on 92 minutes and secure a 1-0 win that keeps Reading bottom of the table.
"It's a massive error from the referee," said McDermott. "It's an absolute joke. The decision killed us.
"It is just plain wrong. I simply cannot get my head around why that is not given as a foul, it's ridiculous."
Shorey, an 86th-minute substitute, did not appear to complain but his team-mates remonstrated with Dean at full time.
"I spoke to the referee and he said Barry hung in the air," said McDermott. "You can hang in the air all day if you're on someone's back. That decision has got to be given.
"I apportion no blame to Nicky, what can he do? When someone is on your back, how can you get off the ground?"
Reading were also angry with Dean for dismissing their penalty claims following a second-half challenge on Jay Tabb by Karim Rekik.
"It was a certain penalty," insisted McDermott. "I've seen it back and he's knocked him out of the way. He didn't look at the ball and he didn't play the ball - it's a penalty.
"Nobody will care about it because it's Reading. We're a small club in this division, people outside will move on very quickly, but we care.
"People will look at us as a small club playing Man City, and it'll be an irrelevance to them. But it's not irrelevant to us, we are fighting like crazy for our lives and we need those decisions to be correct.
"This has happened to us at Chelsea, Wigan, Southampton - all penalties - the handball against Newcastle, it is happening too regularly in my opinion.
"I've had referees ring me on a Monday and say they've made a mistake but how many times has it got to be? I said to the referee [Dean] he'll see it and be gutted."
Victory reduces Manchester United's lead over City at the top of the table to three points, with United travelling to Swansea on Sunday.
Of the winning goal, City boss Roberto Mancini said: "No foul, absolutely not. When you have one chance, you have to score. In the end, I am happy with the victory but we had a big problem."
Barry added: "I haven't seen it again. Shorey was just standing there and I got over the top of him.
"The lads in the dressing room were saying it was possibly a foul but I'm delighted the referee did not see it as a foul."