Barrow 2 Lowestoft Town 0
Lowestoft Town battle to frustrate a very good Barrow side but succumb to a free-kick with twenty to go and a late goal in a 2-0 defeat
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Barrow: McMillan, Burns, McWilliams, Lacey, Livesey, Grand, Reid (Owens 67 mins), Sheridan, Walker (Cowperthwaite 90 mins), Cook, Pilkington (Gorman 79 mins)
Subs not used; Harvey, Cribley
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Hayles, Gleeson (Marsden 40 mins), Gaughran, Smith, Ainsley, Fisk, Okay, Bammant, Louis, Reed (Woods-Garness 76 mins)
Subs not used; Radomski, Zielonka, Hodd
Lowestoft Town stayed overnight in Preston before travelling to Barrow via the picturesque Lake District. After a very bleak and rainy start to the day, the weather cleared out and the sun beamed for the rest of the day as the team arrived at Barrow in good spirits.
An already tough ask for Lowestoft was added to with the squad missing Henderson, Haynes-Brown, Jarvis and Jones through injury.
New signing Zielonka made the bench, as Bammant took up a left wing position in the absence of wide men for the Trawlerboys.
The match got underway on a great surface on a beautifully sunny afternoon with Lowestoft in their yellow third strip and Barrow in blue and white.
An early corner signalled the intent of the home side with Pilkington delivering and Walker stooping at the near post but Jessup was well positioned to claim.
At the other end an in form Ainsley picked the ball up well in midfield for Lowestoft and drove forward to open up a chance with his body but his effort bent just past the upright. Pilkington then did the same for the home side, driving at the Lowestoft defence before shooting across goal and just inches past the foot of the far post.
Both sides were starting to settle with ten minutes gone and Lowestoft were employing the tactic of all goal kicks by Jessup being aimed at Bammant down the left, who was a towering figure up against the Barrow right back Burns.
Barrow were retaining the ball well though and were shifting it about at a good tempo in midfield. Pilkington was heavily involved in most of their forward play and it was Barrow who were holding the threat. While for Lowestoft, Reed was clearly finding in difficult up against centre-back pairing of Livesey and Grand.
The Lowestoft midfield were struggling to get into the game and were being bypassed on too many occasions with long balls to Bammant in the channel and Louis and Reed up top.
One player who is still riding on a wave of form and confidence for Lowestoft is Ainsley and with him showing good strength to win the ball in the air, he picked out Reed in the box with a cross but the strikers header was cleared by a covering Barrow defender. Pilkington was the one looking threatening for Barrow and with him facing up to a back peddling Gaughran, he sent an effort bending past the post with Jessup watching it wide.
At the back Lowestoft were holding it together fairly well though with Hayles looking strong again and Gleeson using his experience. However with the captain feeling a tightness in his hamstring, no risks were being taken and he was replaced with Marsden five minutes before the break. Ainsley was now shifted to right back and Hayles into the middle as halftime arrived with Lowestoft leaving the pitch happy with the goalless scoreline and Barrow frustrated that they'd not really tested Jessup up to this point.
Lowestoft very nearly made the most perfect of starts to the second half with a touch over the top sending Reed in on goal but the keeper got the faintest of touches on his lobbed effort to see it go fractionally over the bar.
It was better from Lowestoft who had come out with more edge to their play and with Barrow now getting frustrated by a number of offsides, the home fans were starting to get a little restless. A foul and booking for Marsden allowed the impressive Sheridan to whip a free-kick into the Lowestoft box as the game started to heat up with sixty minutes gone.
Moments late Sheridan was standing over another free-kick for the home side and with two players missing a chance of a header at goal, Lowestoft survived and the frustration on the Barrow terraces increased. Lowestoft were starting to compete more and more, with Barrow responding by making their first change as Owens replaced Reid.
Hayles was continuing to put in a very solid individual performance in defence with the only real concern for Lowestoft being the free-kicks that Barrow continued to earn and the quality in the delivery of them by Sheridan. It was yet another Sheridan free-kick from which Barrow broke the deadlock and Lowestoft were left feeling hard done by. Sheridan sent the dead ball into the box and with Lowestoft looking to clear their lines, Ainsley was shoved over when trying to head clear but the foul was ignored and Walker was at hand to stab home for 1-0 to Barrow (71 mins).
Lowestoft now needed to somehow get themselves back in the game and turned to the bench for some fresh legs with Woods-Garness coming on for Reed. Barrow also made a further change with Gorman replacing Pilkington.
A prodded effort past the post by leading scorer Cook nearly extended the home sides lead but with two minutes remaining Barrow put the game to bed. With Lowestoft getting turned in defence a miss hit shot by Cook ran right into the path of Owens and with Hayles unable to do anything it was 2-0 (88 mins).
Four minutes stoppage time were played at the end but the match was over and as the final whistle sounded, Lowestoft could take a lot of positives from the game going forward.
The team were missing a few players today and even though they never really threatened as an attacking force, they restricted and frustrated the home side well and arguably deserved a point for their efforts. It was a resilient away performance, which if repeated will see Lowestoft pick up points on the road during the rest of the season. Barrow are one of a few top sides that Lowestoft have now played and they will take great confidence from having already played these sides and taken points from some of them.
The first goal was harsh on Lowestoft with every player giving their all and Jessup continuing to grow as a young keeper, commanding his box really well and having more to do than against Coalville.
There is one player who really stood out though for Lowestoft and is now putting together a number of consistently strong performances. He was an absolute rock at the back and put in his strongest defensive performance to date; my Man of the Match is Rickie Hayles.
Lowestoft Town are next in action on Tuesday night when they welcome Brackley to the Crown Meadow in the Vanarama Conference North.