A loss to high-flying Bluebirds brings no shame but Brakes must be tighter

Dan Newton fires a close range shot in the second half.'MHLC-21-02-15 Brakes Barrow NNL-150223-093756009
Dan Newton fires a close range shot in the second half.'MHLC-21-02-15 Brakes Barrow NNL-150223-093756009

Brakes slipped to defeat as a goal in each half gave titlechasing Barrow AFC the points at the New Windmill Ground, writes Paul Edwards

Although not disgraced against their high-flying opponents, there were few chances of note for Leamington over the course of the game.

They must now turn their focus to the important trip to north Wales to face Colwyn Bay on Saturday.

Manager Paul Holleran is still confident his troops will pick up the points required to remain above the dreaded dotted line come the end of the season.

But he conceded that the Brakes were beaten by a side with experienced players who know the division well and have the quality to close out games when required.

“In patches we did alright but defensively both their goals were preventable,” he explained.

“It’s probably the first time since we played Colwyn Bay here (in August) that I’ve had to go in the dressing-room and say a few things I wasn’t happy with.

“But Barrow are on a different level to us, everything about the football club is.

“We’ve just come out the wrong side twice against them this season.

“But we’ve got the likes of Fylde to come here and, hopefully, we can nick a result against some of these sides.

“We’ve put ourselves in a half-decent position and we want to build on that.

“We’ll be all ready to go to Colwyn Bay and try to get another three points.”

Both sides had chances to open the scoring.

Bluebirds skipper Simon Grand hooked well over the bar from a floated free-kick and Jason Walker fired low and wide as Barrow searched for the advantage.

For Brakes, Matt Dodd won a free-kick close to the edge of the penalty area on the left from which Danny Newton’s deft back heel was blocked by a raft of defenders before it could trouble keeper Aaran Taylor.

Haworth’s weaving run through the Leamington defence ended with him shooting wide of the target.

But he did rather better just past the half-hour mark as he collected a precise pass from Danny Livesey before turning to fire beyond the dive of Ross Atkins.

Barrow were forced to make an early substitution when Nick Wilmer-Anderton stayed down after a challenge with Dodd.

The collision left the loanee from Preston North End with a fractured shin – something Bluebirds boss Darren Edmondson described as ‘a sickener for the lad. He is only 18 but has done brilliantly for us and it’s a real blow for him’.

As the first half drew to a disjointed close, Lewis Guy, one of several former Carlisle United players in the Barrow line-up, flashed a well-struck effort wide from distance.

Haworth fired high over the bar in the early stages of the second before Leamington began to find their feet.

Grand looked to have got away with impeding Newton as he attempted to close in on goal while at the other end James Mace was on hand to prevent Andy Cook from doubling the Barrow lead as their front two broke clear with a goal looking certain.

The Brakes right-back did well to intervene and deflect the ball on to the post.

He gave a serious test to Taylor for the first time in the game when he picked up a loose ball from a corner.

The Bluebirds keeper could only parry the shot and the ball ran loose to Newton on the edge of the box but, unable to dig the ball out from under him, he moved it sideways to Delroy Gordon, whose shot lacked the power to beat Taylor.

Joe Magunda’s long throw into the six-yard box looked to have taken everyone by surprise, including Newton, but he reacted to flick the ball towards goal, However, it was straight at Taylor.

At the other end the influential Haworth fired a free-kick straight at Atkins.

Just as it looked as though there might still be a chance for Leamington to snatch something from the game, Barrow wrapped up the points with a clinical second when Grand steered the ball inside the near post from Walker’s low driven cross in from the right.