A penalty either side of half-time saw our long trip to Barrow end level.
David McGoldrick's spotkick was cancelled out by Dean Campbell as we had to settle for a point on the road.
Luke Williams made one change to the side that overcame Swindon Town in midweek, Tobi Adebayo replacing the bench-bound Aaron Nemane down the right-hand side.
Jodi Jones continued on the opposite flank, joining Adebayo in looking to supply attacking trio McGoldrick, Dan Crowley and Macaulay Langstaff from out wide.
At the back, Aidan Stone was shielded by Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin and Richard Brindley, as well as midfield duo John Bostock and Matt Palmer.
We made a bright start to the match and created a big chance for Langstaff on six minutes, Crowley doing brilliantly to escape with the ball in midfield and playing a through ball for the striker. Langstaff had too much pace for the covering defender but, with his left foot, could only send his shot across goal and wide of the far post.
Five minutes later, though, Langstaff was heavily involved in us going in front as, after receiving a pass from Bostock, the forward jinked past Chester in the area and was felled. McGoldrick had to wait until the injured Tyrell Warren made way for Luca Stephenson before striking the spotkick – but kept his composure to send the keeper the wrong way.
It had been a procession-like start to the match, with our hosts struggling to get near us, but as the half progressed they grew more and more into the game.
Emile Acquah led the Cumbrians’ charge, diving in to meet a cross from the right but sending his header narrowly over.
Adebayo offered a retort shortly before the break, seeing a near-post effort saved after he did well to keep the ball on the byline.
But it was Barrow who ended the half in the ascendancy, Stephenson being put off by Jones at the crucial moment after the substitute had latched on to a ball over the top.
We emerged for the second half unchanged and came very close to doubling our lead within four minutes of the restart as Brindley brilliantly released Adebayo down the right. His low, dangerous cross caused panic for Chester, who could only turn the ball towards his own goal. Paul Farman made an excellent reaction save to push the ball behind.
Langstaff flicked a header wide and Ged Garner saw a deflected shot held by Stone at the second attempt as the sides continued to jostle for dominance.
Williams opted to freshen things up on 67 minutes, sending Jim O’Brien, Sam Austin and Nemane on for Bostock, Adebayo and Langstaff – and the game continued to hang in the balance heading into the last 10 minutes of normal time.
But the hosts were able to draw themselves level as Cameron handled a cross inside his own area after appearing to slip on the poor surface, allowing Campbell to fire home the penalty.
Jones’ final action of the game was to drift a cross to Nemane, who could only fire his volley over from a difficult angle, before the winger made way for Junior Morias.
But it was another substitute, Barrow’s Ben Whitfield, who would have the bigger impact as he drew a save from Stone before, in the third of six added minutes, squandered a huge chance to win it as he sent his shot wide after being picked out in the area.
STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Baldwin, Brindley; Jones (Morias 88'), Adebayo (Nemane 67'); Bostock (O'Brien 67'), Palmer, McGoldrick, Crowley; Langstaff (Austin 67')
SUBS: Slocombe, Rawlinson, Tipton
BOOKINGS: Adebayo 30', Austin 81', Brindley 90+2'
ATTENDANCE: 4,122 (626)