Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey admitted his side’s game management could have been better towards the end of their narrow 19-18 defeat against Leigh Centurions in the quarter finals of the 1895 Cup.

The Raiders were just five minutes away from the semi-finals after a battling display had led to them turning a 10-0 first-half deficit into an 18-16 lead going into the final stages at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.

Discipline unfortunately did let them down as penalties led to Leigh’s Martyn Ridyard first levelling from the kicking tee before deciding a terrific tie with a nerveless drop goal in the 77th minute.

Given that both sides had played just three days previously and had plenty of players backing up from the weekend, it is to their immense credit that they served up a match of such quality.

Barrow went into the game as underdogs, but came out of it wondering how they’d lost, with Crarey saying: “Everybody keeps telling me the best side lost, but we just didn’t have the smarts to finish the game off at the end.

“We had them absolutely on the rack, but we came up with a poor kick at the back end of the game.

“We could have drilled it into touch or put it up into the air and put massive pressure on them because they didn’t look comfortable under the high ball.

“That’s what we wanted to do and Ryan [Johnston] hadn’t been playing for a while – he’s had a bad shoulder – and he opted to run the play.

“To be fair, I think it was [Cory] Patterson who picked it up off his bootlaces and they were down the other end of the pitch and then we gave the penalty away that allowed them to put points on the board.”

Crarey had predicted after last Sunday’s 38-16 win at Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship that the quick turnaround would lead to a dip the tie’s quality, but that was far from the case.

“It was an epic battle and both sides after the weekend – we had a big game at Fev and we were battered and bruised and to put a performance in like that was huge,” Crarey said.

“I’m so proud of the lads for the effort they put in. Errors are going to be a factor, but again we can’t criticise the boys too much.”