Our match report from the Bluebirds defeat at Moss Rose.
Jalal, Hodgkiss, Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Pilkington, Durrell, Wilson, Blissett, Hancox, Whitehead, Whitaker.
Ramsbottom, Marsh, Richards, Kennedy, Burgess
Arnold, Jones, Diarra, Cook, Barthram, White, K.James, Hall, Gomis, Holt, L.James.
Macdonald, Bauress, Panayiotou, Walters, Waterston
1738 (Including 146 Barrow supporters)
146 vocal Barrow supporters saw a spirited performance toppled by a top of the league second half, to give Macclesfield Town victory over the Bluebirds at Moss Rose.
Grant Holt and Luke James linked up well early on but the ball got away from James. Macclesfield had the best chance of the opening exchanges after 6 minutes when a pinpoint cross from Elliott Durrell found Scott Wilson 6 yards out, but the striker fired over at full stretch.
As might be expected of a home side who are sitting at the top of the league, Town were pressing high up the pitch, forcing the Bluebirds back towards their own goal.
But that changed after 11 minutes thanks to another fine goal from Luke James. Barrow supporters would have been forgiven for thinking they were back at Maidstone as the pacy forward picked the ball up and beat two defenders before firing low into the bottom corner of the goal.
It could easily have been 2-0 just minutes later as Luke James made his way into the Macclesfield area yet again, but his shot was saved by Shwan Jalal.
With 16 minutes on the clock Steve Arnold produced an unbelieveable reaction save to keep a Hancox header out, with the home supporters already on their feet.
The hosts were once again pressing high up the pitch and there was a nervy moment for the Bluebirds as the ball bounced around in the area before it was hooked away to Luke James. He found Bedsente Gomis and he played it back to James who couldn’t find a way through the Macclesfield defence. However, the Bluebirds were looking dangerous on the break.
Steve Arnold had to be at his best again after 25 minutes as a low, teasing cross was unfortunately directed towards his own goal by Ollie Cook, Arnold reacting well to keep it out.
Two minutes later the Bluebirds would have doubled their lead but for a fantastic save by Jalal in the Macclesfield goal. Kingsley James and Grant Holt combined well to set Luke James in on goal and his effort was tipped around the post by the home keeper.
The home sides equaliser came with ten minutes left in the first half. A cross from the right hand side was cleared by the Barrow defence, but only as far as Mitch Hancox who fired a rasping drive into the bottom corner.
After one minute of added time the half time whistle went, with the sides level in terms of performance and scoreline.
Half Time: Macclesfield Town 1-1 Barrow
Macclesfield kicked off the second half and had Barrow under pressure early on with several corners and lots of crosses into the Bluebirds area.
However, the Bluebirds were unfortunate not to take the lead after 57 minutes when Grant Holt played Luke James in and the forward again showed a turn of pace, this time firing wide of the Macclesfield goal.
Lewis Walters replaced Grant Holt before Steve Arnold produced a fantastic stop to tip over a powerful effort from the ever dangerous Elliott Durrell on the hour mark. Dan Jones then did well to block another shot on goal before Harry Pananyiotou replaced Bedsente Gomis.
The home side then took the lead from the spot. Jack Barthram was beaten by Hancox on the left hand side and brought him down as he tried to win back posseesion for the Bluebirds, the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Andy Whitaker made no mistake with his effort, firing past Steve Arnold despite the keeper diving the right way.
The hosts remained in the driving seat as they pushed for a third goal and it arrived with 13 minutes left to play. Elliott Durrell was picked out in the Barrow area and he fired low past Arnold to seal the victory.
Nathan Waterston replaced Jordan White and he showed promise, finding Luke James with a cushioned header but the forward’s shot didn’t have the power to test Shwan Jalal.
After three minutes of additional time the final whistle went, the Bluebirds players and fans showing mutual appreciation for their efforts on a tough afternoon against the league leaders.
Macclesfield Town 3-1 Barrow