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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

16 March 2024 Venue SO Legal Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Match preview - Barrow (A)

15 March 2024

On the back of a resolute performance that earned a hard-fought point away to Wrexham on Tuesday evening, Town are back on the road this weekend with a trip to face Barrow this Saturday.

And Simon Weaver will be hoping the display in North Wales can be used as a springboard to come away with all three points as his side close in on their highest points total as a league club.

Our opponents

Barrow ended the 2022/23 season in ninth position, with their 62 points a creditable return and at times during the campaign they did look set to mount a challenge to the playoff positions.

This season though they have been well placed throughout the season and begin the game in sixth spot on 60 points, with a cushion of five points back to the sides looking to break into the playoff positions.

The Bluebirds also come into the game on a three-match unbeaten run, including a pair of 2-0 victories at home to Gillingham and Colchester as well as the midweek 1-1 away draw at Walsall, which steadied the ship after three successive defeats.

At home they have only lost two games all season, winning nine and taking 33 points from 17 games.

Previous meetings

Games between the two sides since entering the league have been tight affairs, with six of the seven games to date featuring one goal or less.

Earlier this season Kian Spence netted a first-half winner to see the visitors come away with all three points.

At Holker Street, neither side has had the advantage so far. In 2020/21 Jack Muldoon bagged the winner five minutes from time before the two slides played out a goalless draw a season later.

Last season the home side took the points courtesy of Josh Gordon’s goal on the stroke of half-time.

The man in charge

Pete Wild is now in his second season in charge at Barrow.

After a couple of caretakes spells in charge at boyhood club Oldham Athletic, Wild took over permanently in March 2019. However, his time in charge was short-lived and he left the club after just nine games.

He later took charge at FC Halifax Town where he spent three seasons in charge, including guiding them to the playoffs before stepping back into the league.

Ones to watch

Cole Stockton, who arrived on loan from Burton Albion in January, has settled in well at the club finding the net four times in eight starts.

Emile Acquah, in his first season as a league player has six goals whilst Dominic Telford brings plenty of experience and goals at this level.

Midfielders Ben Whitfield and Kian Spence have seven goals apiece, with Spence also adding six assists.

Niall Canavan has been a fixture in the heart of the defence, but injury has seen the likes of Rory Feeley and James Chester get an opportunity alongside the impressive George Ray with veteran Paul Farman a secure figure between the sticks.


Having been a member of the Football League for half a century Barrow failed to earn re-election following the 1971/72 season, spending the years in between in the top two levels of non-league football before promotion at the end of the 2019/20 season.

During this time, the club lifted the FA Trophy in 1990 and 2010, becoming the only side to win the trophy at both the old and new Wembley Stadium.

The 2020/21 season was their first back in the Football League for 50 years.

Team news

Simon Weaver continues to be without Lewis Thomas, Rod McDonald, Sam Folarin and will make a late check on Liam Gibson after the defender limped off at Wrexham.

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Match Reports

Belshaw penalty heroics give town well-earned point on the road.

16 March 2024

James Belshaw’s first-half penalty save proved decisive in continuing Town’s positive away record as we fought through the blistering wind in Cumbria against a Barrow side sat in the play-offs.

Matty Foulds returned to the starting line-up to replace an injured Liam Gibson who dropped out of the squad to leave space for Rod Macdonald to return from a hamstring injury.

Barrow’s sturdy home defence had led them to 4 wins from 6 but they were caught cold by a Town team firing with two early corners following quick counter attacking exchanges between Muldoon and March.

A flurry of early chances followed, the best of which was a low driven shot from Daly which almost snuck past Farman at his near post.

The play then fell into the home sides hands as Feely struck the crossbar from 20 yards out in the 16th minute.

Town’s direct attacking was forced to appear with Barrow closing the quick avenues Harrogate exploited within the first 20 minutes. O’Connor lofted a long through ball above the Barrow backline, but Muldoon’s volley sailed wide.

Barrow were then rewarded a golden opportunity when Warren Burrell was penalised after a late challenge on Gotts inside the penalty area.

It proved to be Belshaw to the rescue again for Town as the penalty from Campbell was expertly tipped wide of the left post. Keeping the score level as the half time whistle blew.

The second half opened with no changes made in the line-up, or the momentum with continued Barrow pressure allowing Ray to flick a dangerous cross wide of the post. Barrow missed the pick of the open play chances in the opening ten minutes, when Acquah latched onto a lofted cross from Newby, only to see his open goal effort loop over the cross bar.

But it would be Town who began to take control soon after a long-range effort from Thomson and quick interchanges between Abu and the newly introduced Sivi. Then with 20 minutes remaining Odoh weaved his way into the box, but his shot whistled in to the side-netting.

Matty Daly left the fold to be replaced by Stephen Dooley, who picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon. Signalling a switch in Town to grind through the Barrow pressure.

The tide began to turn back in Barrows way as Anthony O’Connor came to Town's rescue on multiple occasions, cutting out dangerous shooting and crossing opportunities from Telford and White.

The 85th minute saw Weaver make his fourth substitution as Rod MacDonald returned to the field for the first time since recovering from injury, replacing Derrick Abu in defence who proved to be a valuable spark in Town’s attack.

The four minutes of added time were called just as March looked to have won a stonewall penalty, only for the linesman to raise his offside flag.

This remained the last chance of the afternoon with Town returning to Harrogate earning another deserved point on the road and battling well against play-off contenders.

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