Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey conceded his team were not up to scratch defensively after their 46-22 home defeat against Bradford Bulls pushed them to the brink of relegation.

The Raiders needed a win from their penultimate match of the season at Craven Park to realistically keep their survival hopes alive, but the Bulls sliced their way through repeatedly to score eight tries.

Crarey is in the position of having to fill round holes in square pegs again due to the amount of injuries in his squad, which was added to with Liam Paisley having to be helped off in the second half.

But he needed Barrow to be harder to break through than they were, and they now head into their final three games of the season needing two wins and hoping Widnes do not pick up another point to have any chance. ‘Tall order’ does not really do it justice.

Crarey said: “In the first half, we had to defend strong, but we conceded a couple of tries off last-tackle plays, real soft ones.

“There was one under the posts, one on the short edge when it was the last tackle. The golden rule is to defend the run and then deal with the kick if they put the kick in and we didn’t do that.

“I thought at half-time, 32-6 down, we were looking down the barrel, but we knew we’d have the wind behind us in the second half and it’s difficult to get out.

“We scored some nice tries, but again let some soft ones in. I thought defensively was the big issue today.

“Our right edge should have got off the line a little bit harder and given them less space and when you give this side space, they’ll cause you any amount of problems with the quality they’ve got. We made some crucial errors that gave them field position.”