Hamilton coach Peter McGuinness has blasted the decision not to send off Maitland's James Thompson for a "vicious" challenge early in their FFA Cup loss at Cooks Square Park on Tuesday night.
McGuinness was seething about Thompson's lunging effort on Kent Harrison on 12 minutes and referee Stephen Laurie's decision to give him only a yellow card.
Hamilton led 1-0 at the time but an own goal and penalty in the second half gave the Magpies victory.
McGuinness was "astounded" that Thompson stayed on the field.
"It was one of the most vicious two-footed lunges off the ground that I've seen in a game of football for quite some time," McGuinness said. "He was lucky there was ball in it. It was from behind and side on and should have been a straight red and long-term suspension.
"Outside of that, I thought it was an up-tempo game, a good game and both sides gave as good as they could.
"The effort was there and it was disappointing that we didn't get the chocolates, but we'll build from that."
Maitland skipper Carl Thornton praised the effort of his side, who were missing linchpin Matt Thompson, and said the win was "huge" for the club.
"[Coach Mick Bolch] said before the game that it's probably the biggest in the club's history," Thornton said. "You get that national exposure now in the round of 32 and it would be good if we could get a game here at Maitland Sportsground."
"That would be great for the community and to get numbers out there to support us."
Thornton felt the Magpies deserved the win after fighting back from a slow start then hanging on late.
"The first 25 they were definitely on top of us and they had the better chances, but after that we changed shape a bit and brought a second defensive midfielder in," he said.
"After that we had a few chances and started to ease our way into the game.
"The second half we probably had the majority of the play. They had a couple of good chances late and [Matt Trott] made some good saves but I think we probably deserved it in the end.
"Credit to the boys, they dug deep when we were under the pump there at the end."
Hamilton defender Reece Pettit finished the game but is set to miss a few weeks with a grade one medial ligament knee injury.