Saints left empty-handed despite a gutsy performance

Andy Cook is congratulated by Jason Walker and Andy Howarth after grabbing Barrow's third goal against Brackley Town. Photo: Lindsey Dickings
Andy Cook is congratulated by Jason Walker and Andy Howarth after grabbing Barrow's third goal against Brackley Town. Photo: Lindsey Dickings

Brackley Town slipped to a third Vanarama Conference North defeat on Saturday, losing 3-1 at Barrow who regained top spot.

In a scrappy first half it seemed the only winners would be the conditions as a bumpy pitch and a fierce wind combined to thwart both sides. The icy blast blowing in off the Irish Sea made conditions unpleasant for spectators and difficult for players.

Barrow enjoyed the greater possession and caused Billy Turley one or two anxious moments with high balls swirling in the wind but it was Saints’ game plan denying Barrow space that frustrated the Bluebirds and the large home crowd.

Saints enjoyed better possession in the opening exchanges of the second period before breaking the deadlock just past the hour mark when Eddie Odhiambo struck a volley past keeper Aaran Taylor. Ryan Rowe played his part in creating the chance and Odhiambo executed his shot superbly in a wonder moment for the few Saints supporters who had braved the 460 mile round trip.

However, as before this season, the lead was short-lived. Within 90 seconds Barrow had won a penalty that Jason Walker converted. Barrow were suddenly sparked into life and there seemed only one likely winner as the home side stretched the Saints’ defence to set up substitute Andy Haworth who finished with ease.

Within six minutes a game that had struggled to generate a single goal scoring chance had produced three goals and a fourth soon followed when top scorer Andy Cook converted following Walker’s run and pass.

At the final whistle a disconsolate Saints side faced the long trip home empty-handed after a game they had contributed so much to. Holding high-flying Barrow for more than an hour had been no mean achievement but counts for little as the side that had put up such sturdy resistance then crumbled.