Ronnie Moore insists Tranmere deserved better after a brave effort with 10 men saw them fall short and lose 1-0 against Port Vale.
Liam Ridehalgh, who was making his debut after joining on emergency loan from Huddersfield, was given his marching orders just after the half-hour mark for pulling back Chris Birchall in the area.
Owain fon Williams saved the resulting spot kick from Tom Pope but could do nothing to stop Chris Lines' superb second-half free-kick.
But Moore's troops, who remain winless since August, fought hard in the closing stages and came so close to an equaliser when Ash Taylor's header came back off the bar.
"We deserved to take something from the game," said Moore.
"Owain fon Williams has made some fantastic saves and kept us in the game but we can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot.
"We lost to an unbelievable free-kick but October could make or break our season now.
"It was cruel really. The first 15 minutes was like a cup tie. There were chances at both ends and both sides were attacking.
"In the second-half I couldn't ask any more from them. We just needed that break but it wasn't our day.
"They gave everything they had and created chances and I can't fault them for that.
"I thought to send him (Liam Ridehalgh) off was really harsh because it looked like he was just leaning into him.
"It is another game lost and that is the disappointing thing for us."