Barrow fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of Crawley Town in West Sussex, after The Bluebirds couldn’t find that vital moment of magic to cancel out an early goal from Crawley’s Ashley Nadesan.
Barrow were coming into the fixture on the back of three successive league wins, with the hosts revitalised and unbeaten in five under caretaker manager Lewis Young.
That ultimately decisive goal from Nadesan started off with a long ball from goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe finding its way to the feet of Dom Telford, who joined The Red Devils in the summer after leading the League Two scoring charts for Newport County last season.
Telford received the ball from a flick-on on the edge of the Barrow area and proceeded to whizz a well placed pass across the box for the onrushing Nadesan to tap in at the far post.
It was Barrow who then dominated for the rest of the game, but couldn’t quite find a way to grab a point to take back on the long journey north, albeit managing 19 shots with 4 on target.
It was on-loan goalkeeper Balcombe that perhaps was the biggest factor to why none of those Barrow efforts found their way into the back of the net. The home shot-stopper received pats on the back from his teammates when he pulled out a fantastic save to deny a dipping volley from Tom White just a minute shy of the half hour mark.
Josh Kay saw the headlines when he received the ball on the edge of the area, following a slip from Crawley’s George Francombe. However, the Barrow winger’s effort missed narrowly over Balcombe’s bar.
Pete Wild’s side came out firing from the off in the second half, as a nice attacking move resulted in Josh Gordon’s shot being blocked away from close range.
On 57 minutes, some clever link up play between Kay and Myles Kenlock saw Ellery Balcombe step into the spotlight once again, as he tipped away Kay’s effort from an awkward angle, with the ball finding its way out for a corner to Barrow.
Drama and controversy followed the resulting set-piece, as Kenlock’s cross appeared to take a deflection off the outstretched arm of Crawley’s captain in the penalty area. The ricochetted ball was then received by George Ray, who looked like he was tussled to the turf by Town's Ludwig Francillette. Play was waved on, and the Barrow players made their frustrations known, with Ray receiving a yellow card for dissent following the passage of play.
The Bluebirds didn’t seem ones to sit around and lick their wounds, when Billy Waters soon hit a powerful shot towards goal that required a solid save from Balcombe just after the hour mark.
The 69th minute saw another chance came from Patrick Brough’s curling cross into David Moyo, but the Barrow frontman couldn’t get a clean touch of the ball to force it goalwards.
Ellery Balcombe was tested again just a few minutes later, with substitute Richie Bennett finding Waters in a great position inside the box. The Brentford loanee goalkeeper performed a fantastic stop to keep Waters off the scoresheet.
The Bluebirds continued to hold the ball in the Crawley half, but the equalising goal continued to evade the Barrow front line. Bennett could’ve been a hero in injury time, but the home ‘keeper once again kept out well struck efforts on two occasions.
Barrow gave it everything in the dying stages, with even Paul Farman hitting a volley from the edge of the box. However, Crawley held on to seal the three points and end Barrow’s unbeaten run in League Two.
Full Time: Crawley Town 1-0 Barrow
Attendance: 2588 (150 away)
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