COACH Terry Matterson felt Castleford’s last gasp Challenge Cup semi-final defeat against Leeds Rhinos was “pretty cruel.”
The Tigers were denied their first Wembley appearance since 1992 when Leeds snatched a 10-8 victory with a golden-point winner.
Castleford led 8-2 with just nine minutes to play but Leeds levelled when Kallum Watkins scored a late try that Kevin Sinfield converted.
Castleford’s Rangi Chase was off target with a drop goal attempt in the dying seconds of normal time.
The Tigers were then pipped when Sinfield kicked a penalty in extra time after Ryan McGoldrick was penalised for a high tackle on Danny McGuire.
Matterson, who is leaving Castleford at the end of the season, criticised referee Phil Bentham’s decision to punish McGoldrick’s high tackle.
“We deserved to be at Wembley,” he said.
“It hurts. I think it will be my last opportunity and that hurts as well.
“To have it taken away like that is pretty cruel. The number of times we were hit high and they weren’t penalised, and the one at the end was across his shoulder.
“We’re up against it enough. Big teams seem to get the roll of the dice. Maybe one day I’ll be with a big team and I’ll know how it feels.”
Leeds coach Brian McDermott insisted the penalty award was a fair one and that his side deserved the victory.
“I don’t know if Ryan McGoldrick was ever going to break Danny McGuire’s jaw but it was a penalty,” he said.
“You can’t attack people above the shoulder.
“A lot will be made about us winning in the last minute but I don’t think we snatched it. When you defend like we did for as long as we did, you are allowed to win games like that in the last minute.”