BARROW AFC's "grit and determination" has been praised by manager Mark Cooper as his side twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at League One Accrington Stanley in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening.

Festus Arthur and substitute Ollie Banks scored the goals before John Coleman's Accrington picked up a bonus point by winning a penalty shootout in which young Bluebirds’ goalkeeper Scott Moloney was almost the hero.

Cooper’s squad was again stretched to the limit, as the Barrow boss was able to name only five subs and unfortunately picked up a further knee injury to defender Kgosi Ntlhe.

"They showed grit and determination to get themselves back in the game and get a point in the group," said Cooper.

"We haven’t got too much in the way of being able to make changes. I gave Ollie Banks a bit of a breather. I keep talking about the mentality and the strength of the group and they have been magnificent again to get a point towards our total in the group."

Twenty-year-old goalkeeper Moloney made two fine late saves on his first start to deny Stanley the win, and twice got his hands to penalties that crawled agonisingly over the line in a 5-4 shootout defeat, with summer signing Josh Gordon the only man to miss for The Bluebirds.

Cooper admits the shootout was a missed opportunity to pick up more points, but was later pleased with his goalkeeper's performance.

He said: "We had chances to win the shootout, it was there for us but it wasn’t to be.

"The most important thing was that in adversity again the players came through it. They have had so much to deal with and they keep getting on with it.

"Scott Moloney made a couple of great saves at the end.

"It’s a difficult position to play and it will be good experience for him."

The young shot stopper acquitted himself well but conceded he will struggle to forget the penalties he almost saved.

"I found out I was playing about two hours before kick off so there was no time to be nervous,"said Moloney.

"I was excited to get out there as I’ve waited quite a while for my chance.

"My saves at the end were just reaction saves, it was a good header but a better save!

"I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight looking back at the penalties I almost saved.

"I just went with my gut, went the right way, but they just managed to sneak in."

AFC are back in league action on Saturday when they travel to Oldham Athletic.