Michael Jolley refused to criticise defender Bobby Thomas after his mistake cost Barrow dear in a 1-0 defeat against Salford City.

Thomas’ under-hit back pass was the only moment of danger on an otherwise quiet evening at the Peninsula Stadium on Tuesday night as Ian Henderson condemned the battling Bluebirds to a third straight defeat.

A point would have seen the hosts jump out of the dreaded drop zone back to non-league football.

“The game was decided by one mistake,” said boss Jolley.

“It was just an individual error, he’s not the first player to make a mistake and he won’t be the last.

“I said to him at half time that what’s important is the way he reacts to it and how he comes through it.

“I thought he had a good second half, he kept his head up and he kept playing.

“Mistakes happen, we deal with them collectively and we move forward.”

Henderson grabbed the only goal of the game in the 29th minute.

But other than that neither side looked like finding the back of the net.

And more frustrating for Jolley’s side is the fact that a draw would have seen them move out of the automatic relegation places on goal difference, although they still have two vital games in hand over their nearest relegation rivals.

Jolley added: “I didn’t think there was anything in the game.

“I can’t remember a clear chance that either side created in the whole game really.

“It was a tight game and there was nothing between the two teams.”

Despite coming away with nothing and suffering a fourth defeat in five, there were plenty of positives for the Bluebirds’ manager.

The ambitious Ammies are highly fancied to push for promotion this season but they struggled to dominate Jolley’s charges and failed to carve out clear-cut chances.

Jolley said: “I saw a lot of positives from our team and we fought right until the very end.

“We worked hard to get back into it, but we’ve come away empty handed despite what I thought was a decent performance.

“I saw a lot of aspects of our play that I liked.

“I thought we were a threat from set plays, our shape was good, our energy was good but some of our football could have been tidier.

“But we were more than in the game against one of the teams who are probably expected to be in the promotion places come the end of the season.

“We can take some solace from that but of course in the end it’s about getting points on the board and we need to do that.

“We need to focus on ourselves, but they’ve got a good manager, got some good players that they’ve bought in on a big budget.

“I’m sure they’ll do well this season.”

Barrow are due to be back in action at home to Morecambe on Saturday.