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Match Reports

Report: Barrow 1 Walsall 1

5 March 2022

A photograph of Barrow Ian Allington
Barrow's Josh Gordon tries a shot during the game against Walsall

The Bluebirds were once again held to a draw on home soil as John Rooney’s spectacular opener wasn’t enough to see them past Walsall at The Dunes Hotel Stadium.

The midfielder’s curling shot looked to have put Barrow on course for a vital win but Donervon Daniels came up from the back to nod a leveller for The Saddlers in the second half.

Mark Cooper chose to make two changes to his starting eleven as Josh Gordon returned to face his former club and Matt Platt came into the Bluebirds defence.

It was The Saddlers who started the brighter and won a corner almost immediately from kick-off, but Barrow cleared it to the edge of the box from where Liam Kinsella had a shot charged down.

Cooper’s men were thankful to James Jones on nine minutes when a shanked corner from the left somehow deflected through bodies at the near post and almost dropped into the net before the defender’s timely intervention on the line.

However, there was a real intensity to The Bluebirds, and they rarely gave their visitors a chance to settle during a first half in which they improved as time went on.

A looping ball forward was misjudged by Donervon Daniels, whose stumble allowed Gordon a sight of goal but his effort to lift the ball over the advancing Carl Rushworth was unsuccessful and it dropped wide.

There was an unsavoury incident on 20 minutes when Lee Tomlin – making his first start for The Saddlers – appeared to kick out at Ollie Banks off the ball but the officials decided a yellow card was sufficient punishment.

The deadlock was broken ten minutes before the break – and the opening goal was another to add to John Rooney’s back catalogue of stunners. A ball was played square to him 20 yards out and he dropped a shoulder to buy himself a yard before curling a sumptuous shot which struck the inside of the right-hand post before finding the net.

The Bluebirds could even have doubled their lead in first half stoppage time when the impressive Robbie Gotts wriggled his way inside from the right before drilling a shot just too high to trouble Rushworth.

Barrow were first to press at the start of the second half when a long ball was flicked on by Will Harris to Josh Gordon and the front man engineered a shot on goal as he tumbled under a challenge, but the effort was deflected wide of the post.

The Saddlers began to enjoy more of the ball as the second half wore on and they were back on level terms on 67 minutes when a right-wing free kick was swung into the area where Daniels powerfully headed it past Paul Farman for 1-1.

Cooper threw on Jordan Stevens and Remeao Hutton, and the latter almost created an opportunity when he escaped down the right on to Rooney’s incisive pass but the fizzed cross to the front post was brilliantly defended by Walsall.

Walsall substitute Devante Rodney could have snatched three points for his side in injury time when he cut inside from the right, but his powerful left-footed drive was well held by Paul Farman.

Full Time: Barrow 1 Walsall 1

Barrow: Farman, Gotts, J Jones, Canavan, Platt, Brough, Banks, White (Hutton 78), Rooney, Harris (Stevens 78), Gordon.
Subs: Glennon, Taylor, Williams, Wakeling.

Booked: Platt.

Walsall: Rushworth, Daniels, Monthe, Osadebe, Earing, Kinsella, Labadie, Wilkinson, Miller (Rodney 58), Shade, Tomlin (Kiernan 85).
Subs: Rose, Ward, Perry, Menayese, Leak.

Booked: Monthe, Tomlin.

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Attendance: 3,439 (449 Walsall)


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