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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Barrow Raiders boss Darren Holt feels first win not far away

RAIDERS boss Darren Holt feels a first win is within his side’s grasp after they pushed Batley Bulldogs all the way at Craven Park.

Barrow led 4-0 after six minutes and dominated the first half-hour in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras. only for a 10-minute spell before half-time to cost them the game.

Adam Clay had put Raiders ahead, but tries from Alex Bretherton, Dan Fleming and Danny Maun before the break established a 16-4 lead for the Bulldogs.

Liam Campbell’s score gave hope of a comeback in a second half, but Greg Johnson sealed the visitors’ win.

However, despite the defeat, Holt saw enough to convince him his side are on the right track and heading for that thus-far elusive maiden victory.

Asked if he felt there was more to the tale than the bare statistics which say played four, lost four, the Raiders boss said: “I didn’t up until tonight to be honest.

“We always knew it was going to be tough this season and I understand the supporters are looking at four losses from four and that it’s a results business.

“But we were aware of the task ahead of us when myself, Phil (Atkinson) and Deano (Dean Marwood) took on the task at the start of this year going up to the Championship.

“We knew the limitations placed on us, we knew the direction we were going to take with a young squad, and part and parcel of that is there is going to be a learning curve.

“The one thing that is pleasing going forward from here is that they seem to be speeding up the learning and if we can just keep on improving piece, by piece, week after week, then I have no doubt that we are going to get there and we will have some wins on the board very shortly.

“I hope that first win isn’t very far away. Mind you, every game we have played this year, I have been confident going into it that if we perform, then we’re in with a shout.

“It was no different tonight. I know what these boys are capable of, but it’s about putting it all together on the park and it’s about learning, and we’re getting there.

“We’ve got some leaders on the pitch and they are starting to rub off on some of the younger members of the squad and it’s going to continue to improve.”

The bonus point Barrow picked up for losing by only 10 points lifted them above Swinton at the foot of the Championship table – for two days at least.

It was earned through dogged effort in the closing stages, though there were chances for both teams to add to their tallies.

Holt thought the determination shown at the end to take the point contributed to the overall impressive display and said: “I think that was the best performance of the season so far.

“The stuff we have worked on, we have actually put it out on the park tonight. It was pleasing to see a lot of that.

“It will be interesting to watch the game back, because I think that for the first 30 minutes, it was almost a picture-perfect performance – no mistakes, no penalties, forcing mistakes from them – and we would have been justified being 10-0 up, 12-0 up, 14-0 up, something like that.

“But we dropped off – and the boys know that – for about 10 minutes and it just goes to show that in this league, if you do drop off for that 10 minutes, then you are going to get punished.”

He added: “Every time we got near their try-line, I was kicking myself when we didn’t come away with points, but we built the pressure and built the pressure and we asked questions of them.

“I think, to be honest, in the second half that took its toll on the Batley lads a touch – they did a lot of defending in that first half and credit to them.

“Batley are an established Championship club and they have been for many years, so they’re not an easy nut to crack, but I thought we asked a lot of questions of them and could very easily have been 12 or 14-0 up before half-time.

“But again, just that little change in the game, a knock-on and the little dip and I thought it was very harsh to go in at 16-4 down. Credit to Batley, though, they took their chances.”

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