Preston North End manager Simon Grayson felt his side did not deserve to be beaten by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Second-place Boro were 1-0 winners on Teesside, Albert Adomah scoring in the 32nd minute to boost their automatic promotion hopes.
Having edged the better of the play until shortly before the goal and then bossing large periods of the second half, the Lilywhites felt they deserved a draw from the game.
Grayson said: “We were hugely disappointed with the result to be fair.
“From the other night we had four players out and only managed to name six substitutes, so we down to the bare bones.
“We set our team out to cause Middlesbrough problems, we put two up front which not too many teams have done this year.
“For the first 30 minutes I thought we quite comfortable, we passed the ball and looked a decent enough threat on the break without creating too much.
“The goal then transformed the atmosphere, Middlesbrough lifted the tempo and we had to make sure we hung on in there until half-time.
“In the second half we got in among them and really played well.
“But for a couple of misses and their keeper making a couple of good saves, we could have got something out of the game.
“You could see the relief on Middlesbrough’s faces when the final whistle went.”
For Boro’s goal, North End centre-half Bailey Wright slipped as he moved to try and cut out George Friend’s cross.
That enable Adomah to get his shot away unchallenged.
Said Grayson: “We were unfortunate with the goal.
“When the ball came into the box Bailey slipped, Adomah took it off him and finished it well.
“It was an unfortunate error on our part but after that we responded really well and were unlucky not to get anything out of the game.
“At half-time we re-grouped and we went to try and get back into it.
“The longer the game went on at 1-0, we knew the more anxious the crowd would get and that is the way it turned out.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get the equaliser.
“If there was one criticism of us, it was that in added time we were still trying to score a nice goal rather than get the ball into the box and snatch a scruffy, untidy one.”