Epsom & Ewell skipper Dan Dean insists the officials had a “massive impact” on the club’s dramatic 3-2 defeat to Camberley Town on Saturday.

The Salts took a 2-0 lead through Kyle Hough and Daryl Cooper-Smith, but a late capitulation saw Town leave High Road with all three points.

The loss shattered Epsom’s hopes of securing promotion from the Combined Counties League Premier Division, with Camberley now in the driving seat to go up in second place.

Although Dean admitted his side should have closed out the game, he felt several decisions went against the hosts.

He said: “The ref had a massive impact on the game - their manager said we were robbed and I agree.

“A couple of their players could have been sent off and we should have had a penalty at the end.

“It summed up our season as we feel we are not only playing against the opposition, but also the referees.

“But we were comfortable and should be closing out games better.”

After league leaders Hartley Wintney announced they would not be accepting promotion due to ground regulations, Epsom were given an outside shot of promotion.

A win against Camberley would have closed the gap to just one point with three games remaining.

“We started really well and the whole squad was really up for it,” Dean said.

“We were determined to get three points to stay in the promotion hunt but a lot of things went against us.

“Having been 2-0 up it’s very disappointing.

"Perhaps we panicked a little bit - we have a young squad with real ability but maybe the lack of experience hurt us.”

The 26-year-old added: “It’s hard to take, but we need to finish the season on a high and do the club proud.

“We’re all in it together so hopefully we will keep fighting until the end of the season.”

Captain Dean was particularly disappointed with a late penalty appeal which was waved away.

“I was right behind it and could see the contact, it looked fairly obviously to me,” he said.

“It wasn’t to be, but we need to keep our heads up and go again.

"We can still have an impact on the league and, with wins, dictate the finish, so that’s what we will try to do from now on.”

Epsom travel to Hanworth Villa this weekend and Dean is confident that it will not be difficult to lift the side following the Camberley heartbreak.

“Some players took it badly, but we had a chat in the dressing room after the game to lift the guys,” he said.

“Hanworth is another game for us to try and win and we need to keep going.”