Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey is pleased with the spirit his side showed in their 38-14 defeat at Widnes Vikings, where they refused to subside in the face of heavy pressure.

It was the Raiders’ first loss in three games and there were fears it was going to be a heavy one as Widnes opened up a 38-2 lead with half an hour still to play.

But instead of caving in, in the manner of their defeats at York and Halifax earlier in the season, Barrow stuck to their task, tightened up their defences and even nicked a couple of tries towards the end.

Those scores from Deon Cross and Tee Ritson meant they left the Halton Stadium with some pride restored ahead of the return fixture against Halifax at Craven Park on Sunday.

Crarey said: “I think we’re going into the game in a stronger position and we’ve got to think about our mind-set.

“We’re doing the best with the budget we’ve got and the lads have never quit once. Even at Widnes, it could have been a blow-out, but we just battled hard and we were still pushing an playing at the very end.”

“I think there was a massive effort from us and it’s very small margins at this level - we contained [Anthony] Gelling at one stage and he off-loaded out of nowhere and they were off at us.

“I thought we got at them in the first half, but they came up with a couple of special plays to score tries. We just ended up losing bodies through injuries and fatigue and it left us really exposed, but I’m really proud of how we dug in at the end.”

A patched-up Barrow were hammered 48-10 at The Shay in their previous match against Fax last month, where Scott Murrell controlled proceedings from stand-off.

The 33-year-old has played a big part in Halifax’s mid-season revival and is someone Crarey will be wary of when his side travel up from Yorkshire this weekend.

He said: “I think he could probably play Super League, I rate him that highly.

“He’s such an organiser and a good player for them and when he doesn’t play they seem to go through that bad spell and now he’s back playing.

“I saw him on the telly against Bradford Bulls and he was a massive difference. It’s very hard to take him out the game because you can’t get at him and they’ve got some very good quality players in their team.”