Frustrated Barrow boss Michael Jolley lamented his side’s start as “unacceptable” after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to promotion-chasing Morecambe.
Aaron Wildig’s headed opener was cancelled out by Scott Quigley on a blustery afternoon at Holker Street.
But parity lasted barely a minute as Kelvin Mellor fired the Shrimps to a victory which takes them up to fourth and within a point of the automatic promotion places in League Two.
Barrow’s fourth defeat in a row leaves them a point adrift of safety.
And Jolley stressed his players need to improve their mentality if they are to avoid the drop back to non-league football.
He said: “I think looking at the game as a whole we paid the price for the start that we made, which was unacceptable.
“We didn’t do the basics of the game at this level for the first 25 or 30 minutes.
“We didn’t make good decisions in that part of the game, nor did we compete well enough. We all take responsibility for that.
“I thought we were poor, I didn’t like the character of the team.
“To play football you’ve got to compete, you’ve got to run, you’ve got to land on second balls, you’ve got to get to the ball first, secure the ball and find one of your team-mates and we didn’t do any of that.
“We can talk about tactics until we’re blue in the face, but until you go on the field with the right mentality and willing to fight and win a game tactics are somewhat irrelevant.
“Whoever goes on to the field against Oldham on Tuesday has to fight for the shirt and want to win the game.”
Derek Adams’ charges were the only side in the top nine to win other than leaders Cambridge.
And he said: “It’s a fabulous win for us, it’s a very good performance from us today.
“The conditions were horrendous, the wind made it hard to play good football for both sides.
“The sides tried to do that so every credit to them.
“In the first half we created loads of really good opportunities and I thought we should have been further ahead at half-time.
“The goal we scored was a very good goal between Carlos [Mendes Gomes], Cole Stockton and Aaron Wildig.
“Today was all about getting the three points and moving up the league.
“Everything was about keeping in touch with the teams at the top of the table and we did that.
“It’s extremely tight, it’s tight in and around the play-offs but it’s tight at the top as well and we’re just delighted to be in the position that we’re in.”