Ross Wallace gave Fleetwood Town keeper Alex Cairns a vote of confidence following his mistake in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Luton Town.
George Moncur’s 41st minute free-kick had given the Hatters the lead at Highbury.
Then, four minutes into the second half, Cairns’ error saw Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu’s effort double the visitors’ advantage.
Paddy Madden’s 18th of the term set up a tense finish but Town could not prevent the League One leaders from surging to a record 20th unbeaten match.
Wallace said: “Obviously Cairnsy, who has been outstanding this season, it just went through his hands.
“But you are not going to say anything to Cairnsy because he has been outstanding.
“You could see he is a bit gutted but Cairnsy is a strong character.
“He has been outstanding for us. He has kept us in games with some brilliant saves this season.
“It is one of those, very rare, and you cannot blame Cairnsy for any of that.
“He has been outstanding this season. He is our number one and we are glad to have him.”
Though Town suffered a home loss, Wallace is taking heart from the way Joey Barton’s 10th-placed team pushed the division’s frontrunners.
He also believed that had Town switched to a 4-3-3 formation earlier in the season – rather than after January’s FA Cup loss to AFC Wimbledon – then they would have been up there with the Hatters.
He said: “We pushed them and matched them for effort.
“We made it uncomfortable at times.
“You can see the confidence they have built over the season and the bit of quality they had for the free-kick.
“We got one back and Paddy nearly got another at the end.
“I think we more than matched them.
“It was chalk and cheese to the way we played them down at their place (Town lost 2-0); we gave them a bit of a game.
“It just shows how far we have come in the last four or five weeks.
“We have changed formation, I think we have been outstanding.
“If we had kept that at the start of the season I have no doubt we would be in the play-offs.
“We’ve been trying to find that for a few months.
“It has just come a wee bit too late but you can see the positive signs going towards the end of the season; that goes into next season.”