Match report: Barrow 2 Grimsby Town 2
AFTER all the talk of a possible departure – guess who was the hero for Grimsby Town at Barrow last night?
Anthony Elding, on as a second-half substitute, scored a remarkable brace to earn the Mariners an unlikely point after trailing 2-0 at winless Barrow.
Bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst named a largely unchanged side to that which beat Hereford United on Saturday – the only switch being Dayle Southwell, on in place of the injured Greg Pearson, to make his first start of the season.
Louie Soares was reintroduced to the squad after being left out for the game against the Bulls.
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But again, there was no place among the 16 for defender Ian Miller.
After their second 200-mile plus journey in little over 72 hours, Town started on the back foot after conceding a free-kick on the edge of the area with barely a minute on the clock. Richie Baker blazed over, however.
It had been an even start to the game without much quality being shown by either side, but the hosts could have gone in front when Danny Rowe attempted to get on the end of a Garry Hunter cross on 15 minutes. But Nathan Pond was alert enough to clear at the near post.
Town won a throw-in deep in the Barrow half after good work from Joe Colbeck. The ball eventually found its way to Southwell, but after taking it under control at an awkward height, the youngster could only poke over.
And with four minutes to go before the break, Pearson nodded the ball back across the box from a long free-kick, however, Danny Hurst pulled off a smothering save as Craig Disley looked to get on the end of it.
At the other end, the impressive Baker fired a warning shot with a sweetly struck right-footed volley that looked as though it had James McKeown beaten. But the 23-year-old threw out a strong right arm to pull of yet another spectacular save.
But Baker was not to be denied.
With minutes to go before the break, and Town down to ten men after an injury to Pearson, Paul Rutherford went down in the box under a clumsy challenge from Frankie Artus and referee Ross Joyce pointed straight to the spot.
It looked a soft decision but there was no doubt about the finish as Baker, who had been the best player on the field, stepped up to confidently stroke the ball past McKeown and take his side into the break at 1-0.
Barrow started strongly after the break but Cook could have had the goal he’s been waiting for. However, he snatched at his shot after a Southwell knockdown and the ball was eventually cleared for a corner.
Pearson flicked the ball to Pond at the back post, but the Fleetwood loan man saw his powerful volley cannon back off the upright in front of the travelling Mariners fans.
Town thought they had scored on 54 minutes, but Pearson’s half-volley from a Colbeck corner was well-stopped on the line by Paul Rutherford as Pearson looked to lead fruitless appeals for a penalty.
Barrow looked to hit back instantly and after good work from Danny Rowe, Garry Hunter showed good feet to turn in the box and flash a shot just wide of the right-hand post.
Andi Thanoj replaced Derek Niven with just over half an hour to go as Hurst and Scott looked to turn the tide.
But shortly after the restart, Barrow had their second of the game.
Rowe caught the Town back line square and found himself in space on the left-hand side and drove into the box before feeding Joe Jackson who struck a powerful under James McKeown to double his side’s advantage.
There was to be no fairytale return for Cook as he was replaced minutes later by Elding as part of a double substitution which saw Soares take to the field in place of Artus.
And it made an almost immediate impact. Thanoj found Colbeck inside the area with a deft chipped pass and the Yorkshireman fired a low volley that Hurst could only parry to the onrushing Elding who smashed in from yards to set up an intriguing last 20 minutes.
Barrow looked to regain their two goal advantage when Jackson tested McKeown at the near-post but the stopper pulled off a smart save.
But with ten minutes to go, at the other end, Soares won a corner that was worked short and eventually swung in to Pearson at the back post he could only head over with Elding well placed behind him.
Town were on top and that pressure finally showed when they had a penalty of their own after Colbeck was brought down in the area after trying to turn.
Elding stepped up to fire in a nerveless penalty into the roof of the net to set up a frantic finish with seven minutes to go.
And Southwell could have completed a remarkable second-half revival for Town but he could only head wide with five minutes left.
Barrow piled on some late pressure but Town held firm to take home a point that had looked so unlikely just half an hour before.
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