Barrow boss Rob Kelly pointed to two instances which changed the game after losing to Port Vale.

The battling Bluebirds could have all but secured their Football League status with all three points at Holker Street.

Victory would have put them 11 points clear of Southend, who have three games left, and 12 points clear of Grimsby – who have four games left but a 24 goal difference deficit.

Tom Conlon’s wonder strike and referee Andy Haines waving away shouts for a stonewall penalty in first-half stoppage time course of the momentum.

“I think the game changed on the one real moment of – skill is probably an under-estimation really. It was a great strike,” Kelly said.

“It was a fantastic goal, unfortunately it wasn’t for us.

“It’s rare that you can say there’s not much you can do about a goal, but it was one you couldn’t do anything about.”

On the penalty, Kelly added: “It’s a penalty. I’m sure he’s made an honest mistake, but it’s a penalty.

“That gets us back into it going into half-time at 1-1 and then you’re in the game.

“I’ve seen it, I’m fortunate that I can watch it straight back.

“Even live it’s a penalty. Andy’s made his decision and got it wrong.

“I can’t do anything about it now, there’s no point bleating on about it.

“I think that puts a different perspective on the game because it’s even.

“But it’s gone now, there’s nothing we can do and we move on from it.”

Kelly has urged his side to dust themselves off ahead of travelling to Tranmere on Saturday.

They need four points from their final four games to be sure of safety, but realistically three will be the trick.

“I thought both teams went at it physically, matched each other really and that changed the tempo of the game,” Kelly said.

“They’ve won seven of the last eight, and drew the other one.

“They’re hard to play against, they defend their box really well. We put the ball in there.

“We huffed and puffed, a little bit like Saturday, but we didn’t have enough really.

“Then they scored a breakaway goal and we’re disappointed with that; the manner of it.

“We need to be better at defending that and if we keep it at 1-0 then you have a chance.

“Their keeper made a couple of good saves at the end.

“I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m disappointed for everyone because it was a chance tonight to really nail it down, but we didn’t.”