Barrow 1-1 Harrogate Town: Late leveller denies Town
A battling performance from Harrogate Town saw them come within four minutes of victory at a cold,but frost free Holker Street,Barrow.
Town arrived twenty minutes late, delayed by a couple of accidents and unexpected roadworks on the M6.
Simon Weaver kept faith with the same team that drew with Guiseley on Boxing Day.
Harrogate survived an early scare when a diagonal pass from Jason Walker found James Ellison in acres of space,but he fluffed his opportunity by shooting high into the terracing.
Paul Clayton and Ryan Fallowfield were adding teeth to the Town attack, but it was a lofted through ball from Louis Swain which caused home keeper, Tony McMillan to race out of his area to head clear.
Clayton’s astute pass then played in James Walshaw who elected to pass, rather than shoot, enabling the “Blubirds”to clear the ball away for a corner.
Craig Nelthorpe’s corner was cleared to Lloyd Kerry but McMillan was well positioned to block his shot at the near post.
With twenty minutes gone the vociferous 1500 strong home crowd were stunned into silence when Louis Swain ended a powerful run from midfield by shooting past McMillan from 25 yards via the inside of the post.
The Bluebirds hit back strongly with both Phil Barnes and Dave McGurk making point blank blocks.
Along with McGurk, Matt Bloomer, Adam Nowakowski and Luke Shiels were forced into heading away a series of crosses as Barrow turned the screw.
Barrow’s,Man of the Match,Alex-Ray Harvey started the second half by shooting high over the bar.
Town,however,were catching Barrow on the break and Nowakowski’s through ball gave Swain a chance to double the score,but he unselfishly squared to Walshaw and the chance evaporated.
Barrow were now in the ascendancy and Paddy Lacey shot narrowly wide from thirty yards,before Harvey flashed a drive across Town’s goal.
A speculative lob from Fallowfield landed on the roof of the Barrow net and Jake Speight who had replaced Walshaw,picked up a Swain pass,wrong footed his marker ,but shot just the wrong side of the upright.
A brilliant save from Barnes and a goal line clearance from Nelthorpe kept Town’s goal intact,but with only four minutes left the dam eventually broke.
Ellison found Andy McWilliams on the left and his low centre evaded the Town defenders leaving Andy Cook to beat Barnes from close range.
Barrow, roared on by the huge home support sensed an unlikely victory,and when Referee Peter Wright signalled five minutes stoppage time,things looked ominous for Town.
But paradoxically it was Town who finished the stronger with a goalbound screamer from the excellent Nelthorpe being deflected over the bar.
It only remained for Barnes to pluck a late corner out of the sky and Town had confounded the critics by gaining a valuable point.