RYAN Johnston was the hero for Barrow Raiders as his converted try with under two minutes left to play saw them snatch a 20-18 victory in this afternoon’s Betfred Championship clash with Batley Bulldogs at Craven Park.

The Raiders made one change to the starting line-up from the defeat at Leigh Centurions last week, with Shane Toal coming back onto the wing. Danny Morrow and Glenn Riley were back on the bench after spells out injured as well.

Errors proved costly for both teams in the opening minutes, with Toal having a possible try ruled out for Barrow due to a forward pass and Batley then wasting an opportunity when Alistair Leak knocked on in the home side’s 10 metres.

The Raiders did manage to edge ahead through a penalty from Jamie Dallimore on 10 minutes, but Batley hit back two minutes layer when they broke through a gap and Dom Brambani set up David Scott to score, followed by Patch Walker kicking the extras.

Both sides were then guilty of making errors which killed promising attacks, with Barrow in particular showing a lack of ruthlessness when they advanced into the away side’s 20-metre zone. The hosts were also not helped by Declan Hulme having to go off with a head injury.

But with three minutes to go until half time, Joe Bullock picked up the ball in his own half and set off on a rampaging carry which saw him burst past attempted tackles and dot down after powering in from around 60 metres out, with Dallimore converting.

Batley’s response came six minutes after the restart following two consecutive penalties to the visitors, with Brambani forcing his way over from close range for try which was again converted by Walker.

But on 51 minutes, Barrow were back in front, with prop Bullock again at the forefront with a line break and pass to Dean Parata for the Australian hooker to score underneath the sticks and give Dallimore a simple conversion.

The lead lasted just six minutes though and the Raiders were made to pay the price for failing to stop the Bulldogs’ offloading game when Leak was set up for his second try of the game, followed by Walker converting from out wide.

But with time ticking away, scrum-half Johnston showed great individual skill to jink his way through the Batley defence and get the ball down over the line to even things up, with Dallimore’s conversion giving the Raiders a two-point gap which ultimately proved enough to secure victory.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Andy Litherland, Gene Ormsby; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Joe Bullock, Nathan Mossop, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Jarrad Stack, Martin Aspinwall. Interchange: Dean Parata, Bradd Crellin, Danny Morrow, Glenn Riley.

Batley Bulldogs: David Scott; Shaun Ainscough, Daniel Cowling, Lewis Galbraith, Keenen Tomlinson; Patrick Walker, Dom Brambani; Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Alex Rowe, James Harrison, Bradley Day, Dane Manning. Interchange: Michael Ward, James Davey, Joseph Chandler, Alex Bretherton.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.