Ian Dawes was left lamenting his Tranmere side’s second-half performance after visitors Salford came from 2-1 down at the break to win 4-3.
Connor Jennings and Kristian Dennis had given Rovers the advantage in this Sky Bet League Two contest, with Matt Smith netting for the visitors in between.
However, after Callum Hendry made it 2-2 a minute into the second half, he hit two more to give the Ammies a remarkable victory, with Charlie Jolley’s goal for the hosts making the 12 minutes of stoppage time a little more frantic for Salford.
Dawes was despondent after his side’s defensive lapses proved costly in the end.
“In the first half we did really well and we deserved to be 2-1 up at half-time,” he said.
“Unfortunately injuries forced two changes upon us so we made those changes, and then to go out and concede a minute after half-time, that’s not acceptable, it’s not good enough.
“The flow of the game changed and we didn’t defend well enough, which is very unlike us, we don’t normally give many chances away.
“We look like we were going to score every time we went forward but were vulnerable at the back.
“It’s a tough result to take, we had to commit players forward. We got it back to 4-3 and still had chances but it’s a disappointing result.
“We talked at half-time about making the game secure and the game management in the first minute of the second half wasn’t good enough.”
He added: “We’re gutted that we’ve lost the game but we’ve got to pick ourselves up and move forward.
“We can’t give Hendry that much space because he’s a top player, and we can’t defend like we did against him.
“The fans know we threw everything we could at them and we all felt we were going to get an equaliser. We’ve tried everything and left gaps but it wasn’t meant to be today.”
Salford boss Neil Wood revealed that his players had come in at the break furious to be a goal in arrears, and was delighted that they drew level almost instantly once the second half got going.
Although he was unhappy with his side’s own defensive shortcomings, he felt they deserved to take home the three points.
“I’m not quite sure where to start today,” he said. “I thought we played really well after a poor start and conceding after six minutes. All three of the goals we conceded were really soft so we have to be much better at that side of it.
“But I do think we played some really good stuff in the first half, we put a lot of pressure on and scored an equaliser, got some good momentum behind us then we were sucker-punched with the second goal.
“I’m glad the lads were angry about it at half-time. I’m really pleased that they showed they weren’t going to accept it.
“We had to keep doing what we’d done well in the first half and we got the best possible start to the second half we could have and we needed to stick to our identity. I thought we dominated them but we had to manage the game better.
“You can get a bit sucked in by the 12 minutes of injury-time when we should have kept the ball better but I don’t think they caused us that many problems.
On Hendry, Wood added: “Callum showed the workrate and quality we want out of him every week.
“We’ve got quality in the side and we know if we play in the right way we’ll create chances and score goals.”