Barrow 2 Grimsby Town 2
Tuesday 6th February 2012 | Blue Square Bet Premier | Holker Street | 1,081
A last-minute equaliser from Joe Jackson earned a point for the home side against a high-flying Mariners’ side that had had one foot in the Blue Square Bet Premier Play Off zone until that point.
Town twice led on the night but couldn’t see out the match to its end, although they stretched their unbeaten run to 12 league games.
The visitors got off to the perfect start and were ahead inside ten minutes. Andi Thanoj won the ball with a crunching tackle in midfield and then released Liam Hearn with an inch-perfect pass that the striker lifted over Barrow ‘keeper Shaun Pearson.
And it should have been 2-0 just minutes later when Hearn robbed Andy Nicholas on the edge of the area and teed up strike partner Anthony Elding but he lifted the ball over the crossbar from 18 yards.
After that let-off, the hosts sprang into action and were unlucky not to be level on 18 minutes. James Mackreth crossed for big Adam Boyes but the striker’s effort was deflected on to the post.
But a minute later the Bluebirds were level. Mackreth made the best of a ricochet to get to the by-line and he pulled the ball back for Boyes to this time power home from close range.
Both sides had chances to edge in front during an entertaining first half with Richie Baker digging out a cross to the far post where Nicholas met the ball with a header that was well held by James McKeown.
Town responded with Conor Townsend advancing down the left and crossing for Craig Disley but the header was kept out low at the near post by Pearson.
Rob Scott and Paul Hurst sent their troops out for the second half looking to up the tempo and the visiting side showed their class by dominating the next 40 minutes.
Michael Coulson was in the thick of the action, first working an opening but seeing his goalbound effort blocked by Kelvin Lomax on 53 minutes.
The former Barnsley man then turned provider as the Mariners regained the lead, swinging in a free kick from the right for Scott Garner to rise highest and head home from inside the six-yard box.
Coulson was proving a real menace down the left for the visitors and his next foray resulted in Barrow being reduced to ten men. The Town winger got free down the left-hand side but was clipped by Lomax. It was the Barrow defender’s second booking and he was dismissed by referee Karl Evans.
And with five minutes to go, the lively Mariners’ forward was surely denied what would have been a match-sealing third goal. Rob Duffy laid off for Coulson but his shot was cleared off the line by substitute Cliff Moyo.
It was a reprieve that Barrow made the most of and they drew level with their first real chance of the second half, just one minute from time. A long cross from the right by Paul Smith was nodded down by Boyes for substitute Joe Jackson to swivel and score from 12 yards with a low effort.
But still Town kept pressing and Hearn was so close to snatching a dramatic late winner for the Mariners when his shot flashed inches beyond the far post after neat build-up by Duffy and Coulson.
Bluebirds: Pearson; Skelton, Nicholas (Moyo 77), Bolland, Lomax, Hone; Baker, Smith, Mackreth (Jackson 81); Cook, Boyes. Subs not used: Ferrell, Harvey
Mariners: McKeown; Silk, Garner, Miller, Townsend; Coulson, Disley, Artus, Thanoj; Hearn, Elding (Duffy 61). Subs not used: Pearson, Church, McCarthy, Hughes-Mason