Barrow ended their first season back in the Football League with a creditable point on the road at Exeter City as Tom Beadling’s goal earned them a 1-1 draw in Devon.
The Grecians needed to win to keep alive any hopes of reaching the play-offs and things looked good when Matt Jay steered them in front midway through the first half.
However, Rob Kelly’s side rallied after the break and hit back when Beadling’s powerful strike from a corner flew into the net and it eventually landed them a share of the spoils at St James’ Park.
There was a quiet opening to the game as Exeter looked to probe for an opening but Chris Taylor almost gave Barrow the lead on 11 minutes when his looping volley dropped just wide of the post.
A couple of minutes later, The Bluebirds could have scored their most bizarre goal of the campaign. Joel Dixon launched a long clearance downfield which bounced high at the edge of the Exeter box and almost deceived Jokull Andresson in the City goal who had to back off and tip it round the post.
The home side were enjoying most of the possession but struggling to break down a determined Barrow backline, Jake Taylor volleying over from just inside the area from their most dangerous attack on 21 minutes.
However, City found the opening with 25 minutes on the clock when Robbie Willmott did well down the left and crossed low towards the edge of the six-yard area where Matt Jay gleefully converted his 20th goal of the season.
Neal Eardley came close to levelling things as half time approached when City failed to fully clear a Bobby Thomas throw-in from the left but the defender’s drive flashed just the wrong side of the post.
Barrow finished the half strongly and had an opportunity right on the whistle when Tom Beadling met a right-wing corner with a glancing header which just fell wide of the far post.
The Bluebirds began the second half with a spring in their step though they were thankful to Dixon for making a tidy save from Taylor as the home skipper shot from the edge of the area.
Kelly’s men were level just before the hour mark when they applied some pressure with a couple of corners. City failed to fully clear the second one and it fell kindly into the path of Tom Beadling who rifled a clean finish through a crowded box and into the net for 1-1.
City tried to get back on the front foot to regain their lead but crosses into the box were too often easily dealt with by the Barrow defence, though Ryan Bowman’s flicked header needed saving by Dixon.
At the other end, the introduction of Dimitri Sea provided The Bluebirds with a different threat and the Frenchman drilled a deflected effort wide of the front post after good work down the left.
Brough then sprinted clear down the left on the counter attack for Barrow and attempted to square the ball into the middle for Luke James but a recovering City defender got in the way and diverted it just wide of the post.
There was a glorious chance for City to go back in front nine minutes from time when they got space down the right but Ben Seymour’s cross was somehow fired over the bar by the arriving Ryan Bowman.
Barrow could have gone in front when substitute Ollie Banks fired a low shot on goal which was well saved by Andresson down to his right before Sea’s show on the rebound was blocked.
Bowman had another chance for the hosts in injury time when he bundled his way through on the left but this time Dixon did well to block his effort at the near post and Nigel Atangana’s follow-up lacked power.
Full Time: Exeter City 1 Barrow 1
Exeter City: Andresson, Taylor (Caprice 82), Collins, Williams (Fisher 76), Bowman, Willmott (Sparkes 76), Jay, Page (Seymour 66), Sweeney, Key (Atangana 82), Hartridge.
Subs not used: Maxted, McArdle.
Barrow: Dixon, Eardley, Thomas (Brown 85), Platt, Ntlhe, Brough, Beadling, J Taylor, C Taylor (Banks 85), Quigley (James 60), Andrew (Sea 70).
Subs not used: Moloney, Wilson.
Referee: Ben Toner
Attendance: Behind Closed Doors