CREWE FC needed a penalty to scramble a 2-2 draw with Winnington Avenue in the Crewe FA Cup on Saturday.
The struggling side bombarded their lower league opponents throughout the encounter but were trailing 2-1 as the minutes ticked away.
Boss Ian O'Reilly admits he thought the penalty was harsh but said he will accept any slice of luck in the current climate.
'The referee said it was a foul so we will take that, but I would be pretty upset if I was their manager.
'But we had created a sackful of chances and should have gone in 5-0 up at half-time, instead of 2-1 down. We missed countless opportunities but at least the lads kept going.
'Credit to Winnington. It was their cup final and they were up for it. At half-time I just had to try and pick the lads up - it was not a time for pointing fingers.
'We battered them in the second half. I think they only had two shots. Their keeper kept making saves and we kept missing the target.
'It was disappointing but at least we're still in the cup. We had a young side out again and the pitch was not in good condition, so we live to fight another day.'
Steve Parker put Crewe 1-0 in the lead on 10 minutes, when he finished off a mazy run by tucking the ball away in the corner. But sloppy defending saw Winnington capitalise and take a lead into the interval.
Danny Massey's penalty should have meant extra-time but the referee deemed the fading light to be too dangerous for the play-ers. The game will be replayed at a date yet to be confirmed.
Crewe have received a double boost from the news that Lee Westwood is to return and Gareth Brookes will resist Nantwich's advances.
Westwood departed earlier this season to sign for Biddulph Victoria, alongside former Crewe Alex youngsters James Marrow and Steve Gunby.
But he has failed to nail down a regular first-team spot and has asked to come back. Brookes has told Ian O'Reilly he will not go to Nantwich despite their offer.
O'Reilly said: 'It is very pleasing that Lee wants to come back, I hope he will make a difference for us. I think he was only getting 20 minutes here and there for Biddulph.
'I am glad there is still some loyalty around and Gareth has shown that to us. He has told me he will be staying and that is great news. He is a good player.'
Crewe FC Reserves' joint management team are looking to the future after their side were beaten 5-1 by Pilkington Reserves at the Cumberland Arena on Saturday.
The side are struggling near the foot of their division but the team of Paul Lowe and Martin Gordon say they are in the process of rebuilding the outfit and progressing the players to first-team level.
Lowe said: 'It is not just about points, we want to develop the players and move them on. It has worked in the past and that is what we do.
'As a result, we have a young side and it was a bit like men against boys on Saturday. But we still tried to pass the ball and play football.'
Gordon added: 'We were only able to field a bare 11 so it was always going to be tough, but we think it will come good in the end.' Paul Cook got the only goal for the Reserves, while Carl Greatbanks was outstanding.
Just one game survived the weather in the Crewe & District League. Winsford IPC took on Bunbury and the teams shared a 2-2 draw. Tony Woods and John Ayres scored for IPC but a brace from Richie Moss for Bunbury levelled.
Next games are on January 8.