Barrow AFC still have to wait over a week to make amends for their defeat at Havant & Waterlooville and manager Ian Evatt is hoping to see the right kind of reaction when their next game eventually comes around.

Evatt believes the 2-0 loss undid some of the Bluebirds’ good work over the Christmas period, where they came through a spell of playing promotion-chasing Solihull, Fylde (twice) and Salford with eight points from a possible 12.

In contrast, Havant went into last Saturday’s game just a point clear of the National League relegation zone, yet they ran out deserved winners on a day where AFC’s performance fell flat.

It also ended their eight-game unbeaten league run and with a free weekend coming up, they’ll surely be champing at the bit by the time they return to action against FC Halifax Town a week on Saturday.

Evatt said: “We were never going to go the rest of the season unbeaten, but now it’s about how we react to this.

“It left a bitter taste in my mouth because I was bitterly disappointed, after how well we’ve done, for us to let it go in the last game over the Christmas period.

“It was always going to be a tough one – I’ve read things in the paper and I saw the Lincoln manager make a quote the other day about the last game of the Christmas period always being the hardest to win because of the break coming up.

“It was about if we could get to those levels again that we’ve shown against the Fyldes, Salfords and Solihulls of this world and we didn’t quite get there.”

The performance at Westleigh Park was at odds with what Barrow’s players had produced over the previous six weeks, where they were resolute at the back while still showing enough quality at the other end of the pitch.

They were uncharacteristically sloppy in possession, in which they were too often ponderous, and defensively, it was a return to the sort of display that the change of formation in November looked to have eradicated.

Evatt, who has already responded to the result by signing his former Chesterfield defensive partner Sam Hird, said: “It really was disappointing and I’m obviously not happy with the way things went because we let ourselves down.

“I thought we had got over that ‘soft side,’ but we showed that again at Havant. We didn’t scrap it and fight it out, which we should have done.

“We had warning signs in the first half – Joel Dixon made some excellent saves – and then second half we conceded two really bad goals.

“We have to regroup now, refresh and go again.”