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Match Reports

Notts 0-3 Barrow

Heavy defeat at the Lane

16 November 2019

Our unbeaten run at home was ended by our biggest defeat of the season as Barrow won 3-0 at Meadow Lane on Saturday.

The damage was done in the opening quarter of an hour, with two goals in three minutes from Dior Angus and John Rooney giving the Bluebirds a lead that they never looked like relinquishing.

And Jack Hindle came off the bench to put the game to bed late on as we were beaten at the Lane for the first time since 10 August. 

Neal Ardley named the same side that dramatcially won at Ebbsfleet in the Emirates FA Cup last week, which meant Sean Shields, who was ineligible seven days ago, had to settle for a place on the bench as he returned to the matchday squad.

After a tentative start to proceedings, the match burst into life around the eight minute mark.

Sandwiched between a pair of good crossing opportunities coming to nothing for Angus, Wes Thomas was picked out by a beautiful pass over the top from Regan Booty and brought it down excellently just inside the area. He managed to touch the ball past the on-rushing Joel Dixon and looked set to apply the finish, but Barrow defenders recovered to crowd the striker out and the visitors cleared.

And after coming so close at one end, we were soon left reeling as Barrow hit us with two quickfire goals.

The visitors were finding plenty of space in wide areas and, on 10 minutes, Josh Kay used it to great effect, getting to the byline to cut back for Angus to apply a first-time finish from six yards.

There was little time for the celebrations of the 471 who had travelled from Barrow to cool before they doubled the lead - and this time it was all our own doing.

Enzio Boldewijn hugely undersold Sam Slocombe with a back-pass from halfway and Angus nipped in to take the ball past the keeper 25 yards from goal. He was forced wide by his touch but regrouped before squaring for skipper Rooney, who had the simple task of turning home from close range.

Mitch Rose's cross was diverted away from Thomas by an important defensive header as we looked for an instant reponse, before Rooney's free-kick from the corner of the box was turned over.

It had been an erratic opening quarter of the match from a Notts perspective, with a host of passes going astray, and hearts were in mouths when Slocombe hit Scott Quigley with a clearance from inside his area - luckily the ball bounced straight back into the keeper's path.

Connor Brown was booked for a strong challenge on Thomas as we looked to get things going in an attacking sense and the striker was also involved in our next opening, which came on 28 minutes.

He combined well with strike-partner Kyle Wootton before sending Boldewijn in behind down the right flank. The Dutchman drove into the box before cutting in on his left foot and looked set to atone for his earlier error but a good block from Patrick Brough denied him that opportunity.

The winger had another opening on 31 minutes, when, just after Thomas saw a shot blocked, Booty rolled the ball into him on the edge of the area and, although he appeared to have space to shoot, he looked to carry it inside the 18-yard box before going down under pressure - referee Daniel Middleton gave nothing, however. 

Rooney bent an effort wide from range before a couple of excellent interventions in quick succession preserved Barrow's lead.

Dixon completely missed a low cross from Boldewijn and Wootton was about to apply the simple finish but Matt Platt got a decisive touch out of nowhere to knock the ball behind.

The resultant corner was headed back across goal by Ben Turner and Thomas looked set to turn it home this time, only for Dixon to somehow hold onto the ball to deny him from point-blank range.

Michael Doyle had his name taken after a foul on Lewis Hardcastle before another last-ditch challenge from the Bluebirds kept us trailing by two.

It was Platt again, this time denying Thomas after he brought the ball down on his chest perfectly inside the area. As it was dropping to be fired past the keeper, the defender managed to toe it away.

It wasn't all one-way traffic, though, and Barrow provided a reminder of their threat on 41 minutes, when a loose touch in midfield allowed Quigley to drive at goal. He probably fancied himself to put the contest to bed before the break, but Turner slid in well to make a block.

Two minutes were added on for stoppages before the referee called time on a disappointing half.

We came out sharply and were finding plenty of opportunities to put crosses into the Barrow box, with Dixon showing some uncertainty as he let one slip through his fingers, but the telling touch wasn't forthcoming.

A low pass into Thomas on the edge of the area almost led to it, though, with the striker receiving the ball on the half-turn and rolling his man before shooting across goal - his effort narrowly beat the post.

Barrow could not be accused of resting on their laurels, however, and Kay had two sightings in quick succession as the hour mark approached - first dragging wide from 20 yards after ghosting in off the left and then blazing high and wide from a good position inside the area.

Rooney tried his luck from distance and wasn't far away from troubling Slocombe, but the keeper was confident the ball would miss the target and watched it sail over.

Barrow's top scorer, Quigley, hadn't been given much of an opportunity to add to his 12 goals but had a clear sighter on 62 minutes when Angus slid a neat pass through on the edge of the area. The linesman kept his flag down and the striker shot low, with Slocombe using his feet to make good stop.

We were pouring men forward to try and find a way back into the match and the visitors almost caught us on the counter when Quigley won the ball from Doyle before sending a raking pass to Angus. He had options either side but chose to shoot from just outside the area and didn't get hold of his effort at all, with the weak strike going straight at Slocombe.

Boldewijn combined well with Richard Brindley down the right and the latter was fouled by Brough, who picked up a booking. Booty curled the set-piece in and Dixon misjudged the flight of the ball as it sailed over his head but, with most of Meadow Lane awaiting the ripple of the net, it dropped narrowly wide.

Ardley made two changes in the aftermath as Shields and Kristian Dennis were introduced for Boldewijn and Thomas - the two substitutes formed a front three with Wootton.

But it was an opposing forward who could, and perhaps should, have had the next goal. Angus was picked out in space behind our defence and went clean through with just Slocombe to beat, but the keeper made himself big and got enough of a touch on the low shot to take the pace off it - Turner recovered to clear.

With 87 played the Cumbrian outfit did have their third, however, as substitute Oliver Dyson got to the byline to cut the ball back for Hindle to finish at the front post.

Booty saw an effort blocked before Dyson's shot was diverted behind at the other end and a further three minutes were added on by the referee. 

Turner thought he was fouled in the box in the dying seconds, but that was the only action of the additional time before our comprehensive defeat was confirmed and Barrow went top of the league. 

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