Ronnie Moore bemoaned Tranmere's luckless streak after a 1-0 loss to Sheffield United left them hanging onto a play-off place.
The visitors took the lead three minutes before the break, with Tony McMahon's ambitious free-kick taking a huge deflection off Ash Taylor as he tried to clear and flying past goalkeeper Owain fon Williams.
"I think it was a bit of misfortune that's lost us the game," said Moore. "They're never easy these games, and to lose to such a mistake is one of them things. The pitch didn't help and unfortunately for us, we've paid the price.
"If you're a defender, you should know you've got time for two or three touches - you can't slash at it, but that's what we did.
"They've hit the bar and Fonners (Owain fon Williams) has made a save late on, but it was scrappy, though I can't criticise their effort. It was hard - the ball was in the air a lot.
"They did the dirty things well, and I said to our lads that's what we have to learn. We're a young side - we have to learn some of the old and dirty tricks.
"Sheffield United did that well, but I thought we were unfortunate to lose the game."