Grimes and Livesey net Barrow AFC victory at Welling
BARROW came from behind to secure their first league win since November as two out-of-form sides battled it out in a scrappy but exciting game, writes HUGO VARLEY.
Welling came into the match without a win in nine, while the Bluebirds had only won once in the league since Paul Cox was appointed as manager two months ago.
However, for large parts of the game – and especially during the second half – Barrow played with the ability and ingenuity of a side seemingly full of confidence.
The visitors started the first half as the brighter side and twice went close in the opening few minutes, with both Danny Pilkington and Ashley Grimes having shots deflected just wide.
With a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock, Barrow’s Simon Grand was presented with a glorious chance to break the deadlock, but the 31-year-old demonstrated why his talents are best utilised in defence as he fired over from six yards.
AFCwere then punished for their poor early finishing as Welling took the lead midway through the first half via a coolly-taken penalty from Xavier Vidal.
There was little complaint from the Barrow players when the referee pointed to the spot after Welling debutant Kadell Daniel was bundled over in the box by Andy Parry.
The hosts came close to doubling their advantage just minutes later, but George Porter’s exquisite through ball flew agonisingly in front of the onrushing Sahr Kabba.
The Wings have struggled to keep clean sheets of late and, true to form, they conceded an equaliser right on the stroke of half-time.
Barrow’s Danny Livesey capitalized on some poor defending to brilliantly head Pilkington’s corner past the helpless Marek Rodak and into the roof of the net.
This goal seemed to galvanise the Bluebirds, who went on to dominate the second half.
Barrow came out of the blocks quickly after the break and once again profited off Welling’s weak defending from set-pieces to take the lead 10 minutes into the second half.
This time Grimes was given far too much room by the Welling defence and the experienced striker – on his first start for the club since October – connected with another Pilkington corner to power the ball home from eight yards.
As the clock ticked towards full-time, the home side desperately pushed forward in search of an illusive equaliser, which ultimately left them exposed at the back.
Rodak made two superb saves to deny Williams and Grimes before Andy Cook missed a superb chance to put the game beyond doubt 10 minutes from time.
The 25-year-old picked the ball up in acres of space on the left-hand side but failed to add to his tally of 14 league goals this season by clipping the ball harmlessly over the bar.
The home side did manage to muster a few second-half chances.
The impressive Daniels did well to beat two defenders before fluffing his lines in front of goal and the 21-year-old also forced Joel Dixon into a smart stop with a powerful free-kick in the dying seconds.
However it would have been somewhat of an injustice if Barrow had not returned from South London with all three points.
The Bluebirds’ third win away from home in the league this season sees them move up to 16th place and should go some way towards reducing fears of a potential relegation fight.
Meanwhile, the result was met with boos from the Welling faithful whose side have now lost five straight league games. The Wings’ National League credentials look increasingly shaky with the side currently sitting in 23rd place in the table and cut adrift four points from safety.
Welling United (4-4-2): Marek Rodak 7, Barney Williams 5 (Michael Bakare 79, 6), Harry Osborne 5, Michael Chambers 6, Ben Jefford 6, Kadell Daniel 7, Harry Lee 6, Xavier Vidal 6, Ricky Wellard 6 (Reece Harris 70, 6), Sahr Kaba 6 George Porter 7.
Substitutes Not Used: Micke McEntegart, Kieron Staime, Nortei Nortey.
Yellow Cards: Kabba 73, Lee 90.
Barrow (4-2-3-1): Joel Dixon 6, David Symington 6, Danny Livesey 7, Simon Grand 5, Nick Wilmer-Anderton 6, Andy Parry 6, Niall Cowperthwaite 6, Danny Pilkington 8, Ashley Grimes 7 (Steve Williams 88, 6), Jordan Williams 7, Andy Cook 5.
Substitutes Not Used: Alex-Ray Harvey, Jason Walker, David Mellor, Elliot Newby.
Yellow Cards: Cowperthwaite 67, Cook 81.
Referee: Robert Whitton.
Star Man: Dan Pilkington – The winger provided the assists for both of Barrow’s goals and terrorised the Welling backline all afternoon.