Furious Salford boss Richie Wellens demanded his players start sticking to the game plan after they conceded in stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Harrogate.
Co-owners Gary Neville and Paul Scholes were seemingly watching their side go second in League Two but the hosts let the chance slip when Ed Francis struck in added time.
On-loan Leeds midfielder Robbie Gotts gave the Ammies the lead and, after Jack Muldoon pounced on an error to equalise, substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante put the hosts 2-1 up with 20 minutes left.
“For the first 20 minutes we were very good and controlled the game,” said Wellens.
“Then we scored the goal and we dropped off. We gave too many free-kicks away and it became a scrapping game, and they were better at that.
“I spoke to them at half-time and said if we want to play that type of game then I will maybe have to change the personnel. So I gave them 10 minutes after half-time to put it right and they didn’t so I took four of them off.
“We changed shape and it worked to a certain extent as we got the second goal and were in total control and then let it slip again.
“I didn’t want to make four subs at once. But I never saw my wingers. We had two midfielders with bags of energy but I had to change it.
“I thought at times we were really good but kept going back to bad habits.”
The result left Salford three points behind leaders Cambridge, who they host on Tuesday.
Wellens added: “We have conceded a last-minute equaliser tonight and against Newport and Tranmere. That’s six points at home we have dropped and that would have us top of the table.
“We play Cambridge next who are having a tremendous season. They are our direct opponent. We need to stick to our gameplan. When we veer from it we are susceptible to conceding goals.”
Harrogate boss Simon Weaver was delighted with his side’s point.
He said: “It was an action-packed game and to finish like that was a superb feeling. It’s the very least we deserved with such energy and spirit and feels like we are back. We were fantastic with our energy and the system.
“It meant so much. They have always been tight games against Salford but we’ve always lost and that hurts.
“We earned this point. We were going into the lion’s den so it was important we dug in.
“Ed Francis is a proper footballer and he was the man to dig in for us in an unfamiliar position at left-back. He did a great job.
“We had a sense of not being denied tonight and you could see that. You can see how pleased we were with our celebrations on the pitch.”
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