Chesterfield manager Paul Cook refused to point the finger of blame after his side were ambushed by a dramatic late fightback which earned Rochdale a 2-2 draw at the Proact Stadium.
Cook's team were cruising at 2-0 going into the last minute but Marc Richards was sent off for the handball that gave Rochdale a penalty and then Peter Vincenti headed home in stoppage time.
There appeared no way back for the visitors after goals from Gary Roberts and Richards had put Chesterfield in control of a game that was played for the most part in driving rain.
Roberts converted after a slick passing move from Richards and Jay O'Shea in the 39th minute and Richards scored from close range in the 69th when an Ollie Banks shot came back off a post.
But everything changed when referee Andy D'Urso ruled Richards had handled on the line and Ian Henderson smashed in the penalty before Vincenti headed in a corner.
Cook said: "I think the referee has made a couple of decisions which are big but that's his perogative and Tommy (Lee) has unfortunately made a couple of mistakes but that's football.
"Every Chesterfield supporter knows how good Tommy Lee is and how important he is to this club so the important thing is we back our players all the time. I'm not questioning referees, managers always want to blame referees, and I can look back and think 'should I have been more positive with my substitutions?'
"A couple of balls into out box has cost us but for 89 minutes I was so pleased with our performance it was untrue. We were excellent and I don't think anyone could forsee what was to come.
"But these things happen and you have to move on. If we play like that, I'm sure we will be in a good position at the end of the season, more performances like that and the future looks very good for us."
Rochdale manager Keith Hill made no attempt to hide his relief after snatching a precious point. "I'm happy, happy, happy, I'm off the Richter Scale in the happiness!
"I thought it was quite an even game, we couldn't do much about the first goal but I thought the second could have been avoided but maybe that gave us the impetus and spirit to mount a challenge to get something out of the game.
"The effort and endeavour was always there and we do say winners never waver and I believe we have a winning mentality. I'm really pleased we got something out of the game because this fixture was brought forward against my wishes.
" I do believe we should have had more help off the Football League in our preparation of representing the Football League in the FA Cup so I'm pleased we got something going into the FA Cup."