Marcus Bignot admitted injury-ravaged Chester FC' s 2-2 draw at 10-man Leyton Orient has to go down as an 'opportunity missed'.
But the Blues boss stressed the importance of looking at the bigger picture after a result that ensured his side are now three points adrift of safety going into Saturday's live BT Sport clash at home to Dagenham & Redbridge (12.30pm).
Paul Turnbull's suspension and knocks to Harry White and Wade Joyce meant Bignot's squad was stretched further from the one that had drew 1-1 at Bromley at the weekend.
And worse was to follow once the action got under way as managerless Orient, searching for the first win in the league since September 2, took an early lead through Macauley Bonne.
But the Blues battled back to go in front through a bizarre goal credited to James Akintunde and a Ross Hannah free kick.
Hannah then missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Jamie Sendles-White was sent off for pulling Nyal Bell down in the box.
It proved a costly miss as Orient, despite their numerical advantage, forced an equaliser in the second half through Jobi McAnuff.
Chester would have moved level on points with their fifth-from-bottom opponents had they held on for only their second away victory of the campaign.
Here's what Bignot said
"We're disappointed as it was an opportunity missed to get the three points but I am delighted with this group and where it's going.
"To come away to Leyton Orient after the week we've had and to be disappointed we've not won the game shows we're going in the right direction.
"We were down to the bare bones again and again the players have done the football club and the supporters proud.
"We're evolving, we're getting mentally stronger, and I think in all areas we're improving. We've had two testing away trips and that's two games unbeaten going into Saturday's televised game. If we can win that it will have been a really good and productive week.
"So, yes, it was an opportunity missed, but our season isn't going to be determined on this moment. It will be determined by how we're evolving and how we're getting better. That was our 10th (league) game since we've come in, and I think our form in those 10 games, in terms of points returns, if it was after 10 games, we wouldn't be in the bottom four.
"We're going in the right direction and there's still a lot more to come, certainly if you think about the players who are missing, but I'm delighted with the group we've had today. We had to change systems, to try and get a foothold back in the game, and we were just limited in the end in what we could bring on and what we could change, but I couldn't fault the players' efforts
"I know this group is going in the right direction when they've gone in there disappointed. It makes a change from when we first come and we were used to losing matches and there was a disappointment at losing another game. The disappointment now is, while we haven't lost the game, that it was an opportunity to get three points away from home against a good Leyton Orient team on their day when they've got the crowd behind them.
"We never controlled the ball the way we would have liked to in the second half, but we still got into some goalscoring opportinities. We just failed to convert chances from them and, again, we were probably limited in terms of personnel we could bring on, and exploit them with more attacking players, certainly in the wider areas."