Chesterfield boss Paul Cook he felt his side deserved to take something from Sunday's clash as they went down 3-2 at Newport.
The Welsh club, promoted from the Conference last season, appeared on the ropes after Jimmy Ryan had cancelled out Danny Crow's earlier effort.
But Liam Cooper hauled down Conor Washington in the penalty area, resulting in his dismissal, and Adam Chapman duly fired home from the spot.
Andy Sandell then completed the job before fellow substitute Marc Richards claimed an injury-time consolation to set up a frantic finale, but County held on to climb up to eighth in the League Two table, just two points behind the second-placed Spireites.
"It's always disappointing when you lose, we came with a game plan and didn't implement it," Cook said.
"We didn't do a lot of the things we had spoke about for parts of the game - we didn't do a lot wrong but sometimes football can be a cruel game.
"A couple of senior players didn't start the game well and they have been told that in no uncertain terms.
"But we had enough chances to win the game and have to give credit to Newport. They have a great home record and it was a tough place to go.
"When we equalised I thought we would go on to win. We just don't seem to be able to take that last step at the moment and made a couple of bad decisions.
"I don't know if it was a penalty. The linesman gave it, not the referee. They have a thankless task every week and you can't lambaste them.
"We didn't deserve to lose but that's football."