Last gasp Platt goal rescues a point for battling Bluebirds
Cambridge United 1-1 Barrow AFC
Matt Platt’s goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time gave Barrow a share of the spoils, although the Bluebirds will feel that they had deserved even more, following an impressive display at high-flying Cambridge United.
Barrow came closest to opening the scoring in the first half, when Harrison Biggins hit the post with a curling free-kick from 25-yards, before the hosts twice came close at the other end.
First, Joe Ironside headed into the side netting and Joel Dixon had to be alert to keep out Idris El Mizouni’s low drive after the U’s man capitalised on some slack passing from the Barrow defence.
Both sides had chances to snatch the lead just before the interval, when Luke James found Josh Kay in space, who fired a low cross across the face of goal, which was deflected onto his own crossbar by a scrambling defender, moments before Dixon saved from Luke Hannant.
The second half started as the first had ended, with both teams having chances in the opening minutes but, this time, the hosts took theirs. Shortly after Biggins had a header blocked at one end, the U’s took the lead at the other. Paul Mullin put Dixon under pressure with the ball at his feet, forcing the Bluebirds stopper into a poor clearance that allowed Ironside to finish into an open goal from 25-yards.
Barrow’s heads could have dropped, having gifted their opponents a goal having played so well, but the Bluebirds rallied and looked to hit back instantly, with Kay and Biggins firing just off-target in quick succession.
The hosts had chances to extend their lead, but Dixon made amends for his earlier costly error by bravely diving at the feet of Mullin to snuff out a dangerous attack.
David Dunn introduced Scott Quigley to the attack from the bench, as Barrow pushed for an equalising goal, and last season’s top scorer almost made a telling impact, firing just over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
Bluebirds fans may have resigned themselves to a defeat when Sam Hird’s ambitious strike was deflected over as the clock ticked into the 96th minute, but there was still time for a twist.
Kay’s throw-in found Brad Barry in space, who whipped in a teasing cross for Matt Platt to rise highest and plant a firm header into the bottom corner, sending Dunn racing up the touchline to celebrate a richly deserved point with his players.
Cambridge United (4-4-2): Mitov; Knoyle, Darling, Taylor, Dunk; Hannant (Davies 80), Boateng, Digby, El Mizouni (Iredale 69); Mullin, Ironside (Cundy 88). Subs not used: Dallas, May, Burton, Knibbs.
Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; Hird, Platt, Brough (Ntlhe 83); Barry, M.Jones, J.Taylor, Biggins (Reid 88), Kay; James, Angus (Quigley 64). Subs not used: Lillis, Brown, C.Taylor.