The report from our narrow home defeat to Ebbsfleet United.
A sunny, spring afternoon at the Furness Building brought a crowd of 1,189, including 76 visiting fans, to witness a battle between two teams desperate for points at each end of the table.
Ultimately, by good defending, Ebbsfleet sustained their play-off hopes with a narrow victory, making our game at Guiseley on Tuesday even more important.
In the 2nd minute a Dan Jones throw was punched out for Barrow’s first corner. Five minutes later, Luke Coulson hit Barrow’s right hand post, seemingly from an offside position but no flag had been raised.
Ten minutes in, an excellent goal-bound strike by Lewis Walters was parried by Ashmore, Asa Hall firing over from the rebound. Barrow plugged away, gaining more corners but unfortunately we couldn’t find a way through the Ebbsfleet defence. In the 27th minute a long ball from Jones and cross from the right by Luke James was again parried- but this time a defender on the line prevented Kingsley James from scoring.
Ebbsfleet’s goal came rather against the run of play. The game had stopped for a couple of minutes while keeper Ashmore required attention. Shortly after the restart in the 32nd minute. Sean Shields hit the bar, Barrow’s defence being unable to stop Dan Rance scoring from the rebound.
Two minutes later, Walters shot just wide from a Jones throw.
The half-time scoreline could have been more unjust if, in the second minute of added time- following a foul on Coulson- Dean Rance’s free kick had been flicked into the goal rather than against the post.
Half Time: Barrow 0-1 Ebbsfleet United
Only the one goal difference remained as the second half began and the question was- could we find a way through the Fleet defence ? The answer turned out to be no- but not for the want of trying. The first quarter of the second half passed uneventfully, Weston replacing Coulson for Ebbsfleet. On the hour, an Ebbsfleet defender knocked the linesman to the ground as he carried the ball over the touchline- and the official had to be replaced. After nearly a five minute stoppage, Jones’ throw resulted in a corner, Walters inswinging goalbound effort being punched over the bar by Ashmore.
Wabo then replaced Whitely but, despite the fresh legs, Barrow still made inroads, a Walters shot from the edge of the area being saved.
At the other end in the 76th minute, Arnold had to punch over a Shields corner but three minutes later Barrow tested Ashmore’s reflexes again. After a Jones throw and cross from Walters, a dangerous Luke James header had to be kept out.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, we replaced Waterston and Hall with White and Gomis.
However, as the end of normal time approached, Gomis spent too long clearing a ball and then Rance, bearing down on goal, had to be felled by a Barrow defender. Fortunately, Weston’s free kick, from the edge of the area, went well over the bar.
In the fourth of eight minutes added time, a free kick by Walters, awarded Barrow’s man of the match, went just wide. He was then replaced by Holt in a last minute throw of the dice with Arnold also going up for two Barrow corners as we desperately sought the equaliser that never came.
A good team performance- but unfortunately no reward – as Ebbsfleet ultimately proved too difficult to break down.
Full Time: Barrow 0-1 Ebbsfleet United
We are next in action on Tuesday as we travel to Nethermoor to face Guiseley, kick off 7:45pm.