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Flynn strike rescues Barrow AFC in FA Trophy full report with pictures

FA Trophy first round: Hyde 1 Barrow AFC 1

Goals: Hyde: Alex Brown (11). Barrow: Matt Flynn (90+5)

Attendance: 438

THIS was Barrow AFC at their Jekyll and Hyde best.

Dreadful for most of the first half and fortunate to be only one goal in arrears, a third consecutive early exit from the competition they last won at Wembley just two-and-a-half years ago looked on the cards.

That was until the last half-hour, when a change in personnel and formation sparked a spell of utter domination that culminated in a deserved equaliser at the death.

Defender Matt Flynn’s stunning 25-yard strike in the fifth and final minute of stoppage-time brought wild celebrations from the travelling Barrow fans at Ewen Fields and earned his side a first round replay at Holker Street tomorrow night.

The Bluebirds must, however, improve their performance over the entire 90-minute period if they are to overcome Hyde and make FA Trophy progress.

Barrow manager Dave Bayliss named the same starting XI for the third game in a row, following an FA Cup first round replay win over Guiseley and the previous weekend’s 2-2 home draw against Forest Green Rovers in Blue Square Bet Premier.

New loan defender Neill Byrne, signed from Rochdale, took a place on the bench at the expense of Tom Anderson, while Tom Aldred started his last game before returning to parent club Colchester United.

Last season’s Blue Square Bet North champions Hyde, unbeaten in eight at home going into the encounter, lined up with ex-Barrow man Kelvin Lomax in defence and former Bluebirds triallists Scott Spencer and Matthew Blinkhorn up front. Barrow-born midfielder Liam Tomsett, who was raised in Swarthmoor, was named among the Tigers’ substitutes.

The visitors started the better and a fifth-minute header by midfielder Garry Hunter brought a smart save from Hyde keeper Chris Dilo.

The home side then began to find their feet and, following a couple of forays forward, took the lead on 11 minutes through midfielder Alex Brown. Barrow allowed Hyde far too much room out wide and, when the ball was delivered, David Poole looked certain to score. Poole, however, got it caught under toes and a mass scramble inside Barrow’s six-yard box ensued before Brown nodded in the loose ball from close range.

Spencer should have doubled Hyde’s advantage shortly afterwards but shot straight at Bluebirds keeper Danny Hurst, who saved with his chest.

Playing a diamond shape formation in midfield, Hyde were easily bossing Barrow’s three in the middle of the park, and time and again playing balls in behind AFC full-backs Flynn and Sean Hessey. As a result, Spencer and Blinkhorn were running riot.

On 20 minutes, former Preston midfielder Chris Sedgwick curled wide when well-placed, before Spencer was again thwarted by Hurst.

Barrow’s number-one came to the rescue for a third time soon after, making a fine one-handed flying save to keep out a strike from Poole.

Having rode their luck, the Bluebirds then began to gain a foothold in the game. Baker blazed over after good work by Hunter and, just after the half-hour mark, Alex-Ray Harvey slipped clear Joe Jackson, whose fierce effort was kept out by Dilo.

Jackson went close again on 34 minutes, before Louis Almond fired a long-range shot wide of the upright.

The second half brought an early chance for Hyde when, following another scramble in the Barrow box, Brown prodded wide. The Bluebirds were, however, much more fired-up than in the first half and, after a crunching tackle by Harvey on Tunji Moses, Almond wriggled free down the left channel. His eventual shot was kept out of the bottom corner by Dilo.

The game’s crucial moment arrived on the hour-mark when AFC manager Dave Bayliss replaced Hunter with the attack-minded Sean McConville and went to a 4-2-1-3 formation, with Almond taking up a free role behind a front three Boyes, Jackson and substitute McConville.

The early indications did not appear promising when Brown missed a superb chance for Hyde but after that it was all one-way traffic, with the Bluebirds going for broke.

As the visitors ramped up the pressure, McConville sent a deflected half-volley dipping just over the bar. Boyes then curled a shot wide, before Richie Baker went close at the near post following superb work down the left by Jackson. Barrow continued to launch wave after wave of attack and Boyes was denied an equaliser in the 86th minute when Dilo got down low to make an excellent save.

Further frustration followed for the visitors when, in the second minute of stoppage-time, Flynn, who chose to stay on his feet instead of looking for a penalty, hit the outside of the post with a miss-hit cross.

Two minutes later the Bluebirds hit the woodwork again. This time it was McConville, whose deflected shot crashed against the bar.

That looked to have been Barrow’s last chance until the ball was slung forward in one last desperate attempt. Right-back Flynn, now playing up front, brought the ball down on his chest, took one touch to his right an unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard thunderbolt that flew beyond Dilo into the keeper’s bottom right-hand corner.

Hyde (4-4-2): Chris Dilo; Kelvin Lomax, Josh Brizell, Robbie Williams, Luke Ashworth (Matthew Cassidy 72); Tunji Moses, Alex Brown, Chris Sedgwick, David Poole (Phil Jevons 78); Scott Spencer (captain), Matthew Blinkhorn. Subs not used: Callum Byrne, Liam Tomsett, Matthew Harris.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Danny Hurst; Matt Flynn, Sean Hessey, Mike Pearson (captain), Tom Aldred; Alex-Ray Harvey, Garry Hunter (Sean McConville 60), Richie Baker; Louis Almond, Joe Jackson (Gavin Skelton 90+5), Adam Boyes. Subs not used: Shaun Pearson, Neill Byrne, Paul Rutherford.

Updates here and on Twitter (follow @leeprocterNWEM)

Big match preview stories on Barrow AFC page of Evening Mail website at http://www.nwemail.co.uk/afc

See Monday's Evening Mail for full report, photos and post-match reaction 

Have your say

Neil, where did David say he wanted us to lose? He clearly stated that ticket prices should be reduced and I for one agree on this point

Posted by LoyalBarrowFan on 27 November 2012 at 16:59

Would you like Barrow to loose cup games so they do not have as many home games? I think If Barrow got to Wembley again you would go so give them a little credit in trying to win and keep in the cup.

Posted by neil on 26 November 2012 at 20:58

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