Oxford United manager Michael Appleton shows frustration at officials
Oxford United manager Michael Appleton admitted it "wasn't a good night for the officials" as his side lost at home to League Two leaders Northampton Town.
The U's were beaten by a Marc Richards second-half penalty at the Kassam Stadium in a game Appleton described as "difficult" for referee Keith Hill.
"To say we didn't get the rub of the green is a bit of an understatement," he told BBC Radio Oxford.
The defeat leaves third-placed Oxford 12 points behind Northampton.
"It was a difficult game for the players," Appleton added. "But, I was proud of the way they stuck at it.
"We got into fantastic positions, but we just lacked a bit of composure in the box. It was going to be a game of fine margins and it's difficult sometimes to be critical.
"But, the way we lost the game is pretty difficult to take."
Appleton was visibly frustrated with the officials at the final whistle of a game featuring seven yellow cards, but stressed the importance of moving on from the result.
"It wasn't a good night for the officials," he said. "I think they know that, but the players have been great at regrouping this season.
"We're excited about where we are and looking forward to the last third of the season."