BARROW boss Michael Jolley admitted he is still learning about his players after a disappointing first defeat in charge of the club.

The former Grimsby gaffer only joined the club on December 23 and picked up a win at Port Vale in his first game at the helm before a draw at home to Tranmere last time out.

Portsmouth loanee Recco Hackett-Fairchild frustratingly ended the Bluebirds’ three-game winless run with a debut goal for Southend at Roots Hall.

Losing the relegation six-pointer at the basement boys left Jolley’s side outside of the dreaded drop zone on goal difference at just a point above the Shrimpers - who have turned the tide with just one defeat in their last ten games.

“We have no excuses,” stressed Jolley.

“I am learning about the group all the time and I learned some important lessons today.

“From our own perspective it’s an important lesson to learn.

We were very naive I think and we must learn from that quickly.

“We need to understand very quickly what’s needed in this league in terms of what it takes to get results and our mentality has to be very clear on that.”

The visitors had a man advantage for the majority of the second half after Greg Halford was sent off.

But the Bluebirds still struggled to create any meaningful chances with striker Scott Quigley, who had scored in the previous four games, unusually quiet.

And Jolley believes counterpart Mark Molesley got his tactics spot on to hold on to all three points after being reduced to ten men.

“They killed the game quite effectively after the sending off,” added the Bluebirds’ boss.

“They used every trick in the book and you can’t blame them, that’s what happens in football.

“We fell for it. It was a very broken game, there was no tempo and no rhythm to the game.

“We’re a possession team and we like to keep the ball in play and the ball was out of play an awfully long time today.

“But we have to get to grips with games like that and find a way to get something from them.

“You can’t use that as an excuse because teams don’t let you play the way you want to, that’s football.”

Barrow had huge shouts for a penalty when Matt Platt’s header struck a defender in the hosts’ box.

Chris Pollard turned down the raucous Bluebirds’ appeals and Jolley feels the referee had a poor day at the office.

He added: “I didn’t have a great view of the handball shout in all honesty so I’d have to watch that back.

“I haven’t come back into football to criticise referees, but I don’t think he had a great afternoon.

“In terms of game management I think he had a bad day with the time taken out of the game.”