Barrow began 2022 with home defeat to Bradford City despite a dominant second half showing from Mark Cooper’s men at The Dunes Hotel Stadium on New Year’s Day.
The Bluebirds weren’t at their best during the first half and went in a goal behind and the game looked over when the visitors added a second early in the second.
However, Barrow kept on fighting and Josh Gordon’s header reduced the arrears before an almighty onslaught which The Bantams did well to withstand and return to West Yorkshire with three points.
The game began at a frenetic pace but with neither side really managing to get the ball down and play as possession switched hands frequently in the opening stages.
However, the first incisive move brought about the game’s opening goal. Alex Gilliead moved forward menacingly and threaded a precise ball into the feet of Lee Angol on the edge of the box and he took a touch before slipping a clinical finish into the bottom corner of the net.
The Bluebirds tried to respond down the right when Remeao Hutton engineered some space to whip a dangerous cross into the box, but it flashed across the face of the visitors’ goal without anyone being able to apply the finishing touch.
Festus Arthur stepped out of defence to thread a wonderful ball in behind for Tom Beadling to run onto on the right side of the City area and he pulled a low pass into the path of Josh Kay only for his shot to be well blocked by a defender.
Tom White tried his luck with a curling effort from 25 yards which was easily gathered by Bradford keeper Sam Hornby, while Ollie Banks then dragged a similarly long-range shot wide after good work from Patrick Brough down the left.
Josh Gordon then benefitted from another excellent pass forward by Arthur and the Bluebirds forward did brilliantly to weave inside from the right to shoot but his effort lacked the venom to disturb Hornby.
City made the perfect start to the second half when Matt Platt was caught trying to shepherd a ball out for a goal kick; Gilliead chased down to prod the ball back and former Bluebirds’ man Andy Cook then kept his cool to skip around Paul Farman to fire home.
That looked like it was game up for Cooper’s men but some sloppiness at the back provided Barrow with a lifeline. First a misplaced pass was intercepted by Tom Beadling who unloaded with a powerful shot which was deflected just wide.
However, from the resultant corner, Barrow worked it shot and, when Kay flighted a cross into the heart of City’s area, Gordon was there to nod home from close range and reduce the deficit.
Barrow could have levelled just before the hour mark when Brough got forward down the left to fizz a menacing ball across the edge of the six-yard area, but Gordon couldn’t quite get there on the stretch and then Connor Brown saw his shot blocked at the back post.
The Bluebirds did get the ball into the net again on 69 minutes when Hornby spilled a cross from the right, and it dropped behind him and over the line only for the referee to decide there had been an infringement on the keeper by Gordon.
Cooper’s men continued to apply huge pressure to the Bradford goal and Ollie Banks came close to capping his return from suspension with an equaliser, but he powered an effort just too high from just inside the box.
Mark Ellis was introduced as an emergency striker as Barrow went chasing a leveller in injury time and Sea almost profited from his presence when the ball dropped kindly on the edge of the area but his shot was held by Hornby.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Bradford City 2
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, Brown (Stevens 69), Platt, Arthur, Brough, Beadling (Sea 56), White, Banks, Kay (Ellis 91), Gordon.
Subs not used: Lillis, Taylor, James.
Booked: Brown, Kay.
Bradford City: Hornby, Threlkeld, Ridehalgh, O’Connor, Songo’o (Foulds 77), Cooke, Cook (Sutton 70), Gilliead, Kelleher, Watt, Angol (Robinson 79).
Subs not used: O’Donnell, Vernam, Cousin-Dawson, Lavery.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge
Attendance: 3,463 (644 Bradford City)