Bluebirds creep past Crawley with last-gasp goal.

Barrow AFC 3-2 Crawley Town

Scott Quigley’s 95th minute winner saw Barrow claim their fourth win in a row, giving them another vital three points in their fight to beat the drop, edging out Crawley 3-2 in a dramatic finale at Holker Street.

Stand-in boss, Rob Kelly, made three changes to the XI that started in the impressive win over table-toppers Cheltenham Town in midweek. The suspended Josh Kay was replaced by Luke James, while Bobby Thomas stepped into the back-line in place of the injured Kgosi Ntlhe and Chris Taylor dropped to the bench to make way for the returning Brad Barry.

It was the visitors who started on the front foot, making inroads down Barrow’s left-hand side, but it was the Bluebirds who were to have the first real chance just shy of the 10 minute mark. Barry pounced on a poor clearance by Crawley keeper Glenn Morris to send James through on goal only for the stopper to atone for his mistake, rushing out to turn the ball away and behind.

Some good pressure soon after yielded a corner and it was from that set piece that Barrow took the lead; Tom Davies, so impressive since his loan arrival from Bristol Rovers, leaping highest to thump a header between the underside of the bar and the helpless grasp of Morris.

The hosts had good chances to double their lead but Morris produce a decent stop, plunging low to his left to keep out Ollie Banks’ effort from the edge of the area, before Thomas could only head wide when attacking the following corner at the back post.

Having survived a flurry of Barrow chances, The Reds started to see more of the ball and were rewarded with an equaliser on 31 minutes. A pinpoint long diagonal picked out the clever run of Tom Nichols, who escaped the attentions of the Bluebirds’ defence to ghost to the byline, cutting the ball back to George Francomb to finish past Joel Dixon.

The Bluebirds were undeterred by the setback, however, and could have hit back immediately, but Quigley could only drag a shot wide when he found himself in a shooting position after good battling from James.

Quigley made no such mistake on 31 minutes, however, when he was presented with a chance to score from the spot after Thomas was fouled in the Crawley penalty area. It was a chance he took emphatically; slamming the ball into the roof of the net to restore the Bluebirds’ advantage.

The second half got underway with play-off chasing Town determined to get back on level terms, and they should have been 10 minutes into the half. A corner from the Barrow left evaded everybody but Joe McNerney, who headed wide when he should have hit the target.

The windy conditions did little to help either side and the match descended into a scrappy affair for large periods. Both sides struggled o create much of note besides Morris easily gathering a weak James effort, although the Reds number one was almost wrong-footed by Banks’ driven free-kick from 45 yards, but recovered well to hold the ball.

That’s how it remained until the game was shocked back to life in the 84th minute. Jordan Maguire-Drew found it too easy to get down the right and into the Barrow box before floating a cross to the back post that was gleefully nodded in by Jack Powell.

That appeared to be that but, in stark contrast to a month ago, this Bluebirds side refused to stop battling and they thought they’d snatched the points deep into stoppage time. Quigley turned well before curling a delightful shot that looked like it was going just inside the far post, only for Morris to fly to his right and paw the ball round the post.

Barrow, and Quigley, were not to be denied, though, and Chris Taylor’s dangerous corner whipped past everyone to the back post, where Barrow’s top scorer was lurking to get the slightest of finishing touches, giving Barrow four Football League wins in a row for the first time since 1968.

Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; J.Jones, Davies, Thomas; Eardley, Barry (C.Taylor 82), J.Taylor, Banks (Beadling 88), Brough; James (Sea 88), Quigley. Subs not used: Lillis, Devitt, Ndjoli.

Crawley Town (4-5-1): Morris; Francombe, Tunnicliffe (Tsaroulla 68), McNerney, Craig; Davies (Nadesan 64), Hessenthaler, Wright, Tilley (Maguire-Drew 76), Powell; Nichols. Subs not used: Nelson, Allarakhia, Sesay.

Written By
Andrew Steel

Andrew Steel

Barrow AFC Correspondent

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