Barrow boss Rob Kelly admitted he was a 'relieved' man after his brave battlers snatched a dramatic draw away to Colchester.

Callum Harriott’s first-half strike put Colchester on course for their first win in nine games as they looked to leapfrog their fellow League Two strugglers.

But Tom Beadling came to the rescue with just two minutes remaining, equalising for the visitors to boost their survival hopes.

“I am [relieved],” Kelly said. “It would have been a long way to come to not get anything.

“In the first half we were poor, so I have no excuses.

"That’s probably down to me a little bit.

“But I thought we played really well in the second half against a good side.

"However, it just wasn’t our day.

“It just wasn’t us in the first half, but the second half looked much more like us.

“I thought we showed really good character to make sure we got a point out of it.”

Beadling struck home a fine low shot from the edge of the area in the 88th minute to earn a point for the Bluebirds at the JobServe Community Stadium.

And a battling point on the road means that Kelly’s resilient side are seven points clear of the relegation zone with just eight fixtures remaining.

To potentially help matters, second-from-bottom Southend United have played a game more than Barrow, which could prove crucial in the final run-in.

“I’m just delighted for the players, all of them,” added Kelly, whose four second-half substitutions – including goalscorer Beadling – had a bearing on the result.

“Anything we do, well we have one agenda.

"It’s nothing personal, it’s not about person.

“It’s about all of us doing what we can to pick up enough points.

"All the players understand the situation."

Kelly named an unchanged side and said Colchester playing well and fatigue with some of his players contributed to the Bluebirds not producing their best.

“I think it was probably a combination of the two,” Kelly said.

“They’re [Colchester] at home and it was a big ask from my players on [Good] Friday.

“But we recovered as well and professionally as we can, but you have to give them [Colchester] credit because they made it really difficult for us.

“They have really talented forward players and they put us on the back foot and make it difficult for you.

“They’ve got a new manager and you get that bounce-back thing, but it was lots of things.

“It wasn’t us in the first half, but we worked at it and just before the subs I thought we were a bit better.

“And then subs gave us that energy and impetus that we hoped they’d give us.”

Kelly added: “Sometimes when it’s not your day, well you have to make it your day.

“You have to play a little bit more forward and get the basics right.

"In the second half we were much better.”