Chesterfield manager Paul Cook bemoaned the lack of cutting edge from his side after the Spireites succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of play-off rivals Southend United.
Gavin Tomlin, who scored a brace in the Shrimpers' 3-0 win at Roots Hall back in December, returned to haunt Chesterfield after his smash and grab raid just four minutes from time gave Paul Sturrock's side all three points.
The 29-year-old forward capitalised on a mistake from Sam Togwell to spring the offside trap and confidently dispatch past Tommy Lee in a game that the hosts dominated for large periods.
"We were never in danger of losing that game," a frustrated Cook told the club's media team.
"It was what can we do to win, how as a manager could we change our team to be more proactive and have that cutting edge. That's the only criticism today, at times we never really had that.
"But it wasn't a game we should have lost."
The win ensured the Shrimpers moved four points clear of Chesterfield in to seventh place and arrested a recent slump that had seen them win just once in seven outings.
The visitors started on the front foot, with Lee having to be alert to thwart Tomlin from Ryan Cresswell's knockdown before the home side began to get a foothold in the game. Marc Richards plundered a powerful free kick on to the underside of the crossbar four minutes before the break, before Paul Smith denied him from close range after the restart.
But Tomlin had the last laugh in the 86th minute, firing home to send almost 300 travelling fans into delirium after their side snatched a scarcely deserved three points.
"They set up to be hard to beat and that's what teams do in this league. They had banks of four and five with Barry Corr coming onto the left-hand side, but they were never really a threat going forward.
"In our enthusiasm in trying to win the game, that is where you look for experience. We must play at our tempo and that is what we are trying to pass on to the lads about moving the ball quicker, how to get round the back of teams and put quality in the box.
"Today we had too many long, straight balls down the middle and when they have the likes of [Ryan] Cresswell and their other lads at the back, it becomes food and drink.
"You've got to respect Southend, they've got good players and they've had a tremendous season. They are in the area final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, they've had a couple of defeats lately but they have got a good record and they came here today and mugged us a little bit.
"Sometimes you feel it's not your day, against Northampton we were on the sidelines feeling that it was. But if you want to get promotion, you can't have too many games like that.
Following last week's postponement at Plainmoor, Cook chose to name an unchanged side from the one that swept aside third placed Northampton Town a fortnight ago meaning new signing Armand Gnanduillet had to be content with a place on the bench.
The giant Ivorian forward was thrown on in place of Neal Trotman in the dying embers of the game, but he couldn't complete a fairytale debut after missing a golden opportunity in stoppage time.
"I thought he should have scored," Cookie revealed.
"I'm not being too critical of the lad, but he has had a free header five or six yards out.
"We want to get him game time, Armand, it's the only way we'll find out about him. He's impressed us in training, there's been a lot of reserve fixtures called off due to the snow and it was always the intention at 0-0 that he would come on because we were trying to win the game.
"But I think in the five minutes he showed our supporters little glimpses - and no-one can judge after just five minutes - of the reasons he has been given that contract."
And after severe snow fall in Derbyshire overnight, Cook moved to single out special praise for chief executive Chris Turner and the hundreds of volunteers that helped prepare the pitch from as early as 7.30am.
"You can't thank our supporters enough for what they did," Cookie added.
"But maybe I shouldn't thank them, next time we should leave the snow and get the game called off!
"But i'd like to thank them for that, it was a tremendous effort to get the game on. It was a fantastic effort from Chris Turner and everyone down at the club."
You can catch Cookie's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player