Jordan Stevens scored a sensational injury-time winner as Barrow rounded-off their Papa John’s Trophy campaign with a 1-0 win over Leicester City U21s on Tuesday night.
It was far from a classic under the lights at The Dunes Hotel Stadium but it was illuminated by Stevens’ wonderful strike which really was worth the admission money on its own.
Mark Cooper made ten changes to his line-up with only Remeao Hutton remaining from the side which kicked-off in the weekend FA Cup win over Banbury United.
Mike Jones was welcomed back into the centre of the Bluebirds’ midfield to play his first game in almost a year following a troublesome Achilles injury.
Both sides knew they could not quality for the next stage of the competition, and it showed during a slow first half which was short of real goalmouth action.
Luke James saw a shot blocked by keeper Chituru Odunze after City had failed to deal with a corner, while at the other end Kasey McAteer got in behind on the left but couldn’t pick out a teammate with a cross.
Leicester did have the ball in the net on 19 minutes when Bayu Spencer-Adams turned it home from close range but his celebrations were cut short when the offside flag was belatedly raised.
Offrande Zanzala came off the bench on the half-hour mark to replace the injured George Williams. The front man almost made an immediate impact when he showed good strength to turn away from his defender on the halfway line to play in Tom White but the midfielder’s low strike across goal flashed wide.
Mark Ellis met a right-wing corner with a powerful header just before the break, but he couldn’t keep it down and the effort went over the cross bar.
Barrow began the second half with a bit more intent and Josh Kay had the first shot in anger when he cut inside from the left to let fly but his effort lacked the power to trouble Odunze.
Kay then turned provider, driving dangerously at the City defence before releasing an intelligent pass into the feet of James on the left of the box who took a touch before trying a shot but Odunze had raced from his line to narrow the angle and make the save.
Leicester responded with a foray into Barrow territory which set-up an opportunity for Ethan Fitzhugh to shoot from 25 yards, but Josh Lillis got across to his right to make a routine save and it remained goalless.
James then produced some good work on the right of the box to cross for Zanzala who met the cross with a sweet volley only to see it brilliantly turned over the bar by Odunze.
City then came as close to a goal as they had all night when McAteer drove infield from the right and drove a curling effort on goal which just didn’t come back enough to nestle in the top left corner of the net.
The game looked to be drifting towards the most pointless penalty shootout in history, especially when Tom White nodded wastefully wide in the last minute following more good work from James.
However, substitute Jordan Stevens provided a moment of real quality in the first minute of injury time when he picked the ball up nearly 35 yards from goal and unleased an unstoppable shot right into the top corner to snatch victory for The Bluebirds.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Leicester City U21s 0
Barrow: Lillis, Hutton, Brown, Ellis, Arthur, Taylor, White, M Jones (Stevens 81), Williams (Zanzala 30), Kay, James.
Subs: Moloney, J Jones, Grayson, Banks, Gotts.
Leicester City U21s: Odunze, Flynn, Suengchitthawon, McAteer, Wakeling (Alves 81), Hughes (Maswanhise 74), Ewing, Russ (Pennant 66), Fitzhugh, Brunt, Spencer-Adams.
Subs not used: Young, Wormleighton, Popov, Grist.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Attendance: 575 (17 Leicester City)