Brakes 1 Barrow 1: The woodwork rescues Barrow after assistant referee comes to Leamington’s aid

Matt Dodd sends Andy McMillan the wrong way from the spot to get Brakes back on level terms. Picture: Jass Lall
Matt Dodd sends Andy McMillan the wrong way from the spot to get Brakes back on level terms. Picture: Jass Lall

A much-improved second-half performance was the width of the woodwork away from giving Leamington all three points on Saturday, writes Paul Okey.

First the post and then the bar came to Barrow’s aid but, having fallen victim to a contentious penalty moments before half-time, the visitors will feel they deserved their slices of luck.

Tom Corner headed tamely at Tony Breeden after a neat piece of skill from Sam Sheridan before the duo combined again for Barrow’s 14th- minute opener.

With Brakes caught out of position following pressure of their own, Ted Cribley picked up possession in midfield and released Sheridan on the overlap. His cross picked out the unmarked Corner who had the simple task of heading into the empty net from three yards out.

Brakes responded with a series of inviting crosses while Lee Chilton, making a surprise return to the starting line-up following a quicker than expected recovery from ligament damage, saw his shot cleared off the line by Robbie Williams.

A Lee Moore free-kick took two deflections, the last off Liam Daly, which took it into the grateful arms of Barrow keeper Tony McMillan.

The clock was ticking into the final minute of the half when Brakes were handed a way back into the game.

Matt Dodd, who had replaced the Peter Till ten minutes earlier, worked his way to the byeline only to go down under the challenge of recovering defender Andy Burns.

Referee Andy Hendley was unmoved but the assistant referee held his flag to his chest and Dodd once again sent a keeper the wrong way to bring Leamington level.

The timing of the goal clearly galvanised the hosts and Barrow centre-backs Williams and Liam Willis looked a shadow of their first-half selves as Danny Newton ran them ragged after the break.

Daly picked up a loose ball eight yards out and rather snatched at his shot which rebounded off McMillan’s knees and out for a corner from which the centre-back brought out another save from the visiting keeper.

Newton’s pace almost allowed him to turn a hopeful high ball into a shot on goal, but McMillan was out quickly to deny him while in a much more open second period, Corner worked his way into the box before seeing his shot blocked and Paddy Lacey drove over.

Newton’s persistence almost paid off in the 64th minute, with the striker nipping in ahead of McMillan after two poor defensive headers had left the keeper exposed. However, despite the contact looking good, the bounce sent the ball on to the post and out for a goal kick.

Barrow substitute Nick Rushton was a lively presence in his half-hour cameo, with a toe-poke at full stretch almost gaining reward, but most of the attacking threat was coming from the hosts.

Stephan Morley’s ambitious effort from 30 yards on the angle had McMillan scrambling and the crossbar rattling as Brakes picked up the pace.

The overworked McMillan then had to be alert to save from Daly before flinging himself at the follow-up from Ricky Johnson and deflecting it wide from close range.

Moore and Dodd both drove wastefully over following indecision in the visitors’ box, but Barrow had a clear sight of goal themselves in the closing stages with Gareth Arnison also failing to hit the target.

brakes: Tony Breeden, Ryan Higgins, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Liam Daly, James Mace, Peter Till (Matt Dodd, 34), Josh Hawker, Danny Newton, Lee Chilton (Ricky Johnson, 72), Lee Moore. Subs not used: Aron Wint, Luke Connolly, Lewis Fenney.

Barrow: Tony McMillan, Andy Burns, Paul Edwards, Richard Davies (Nick Rushton, 63), Liam Willis, Robbie Williams, Sam Sheridan (Alex Ray-Harvey, 84), Paddy Lacey, Tom Corner, Gareth Arnison, Ted Cribley. Subs not used: Phil Marsh, Dan Parkinson, Niall Cowperthwaite.