THE Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Ady Pennock had spoken after the midweek victory over Eastleigh about how he has been saying a little prayer for this Barrow AFC team, and he felt he had been rewarded with that win.

Fast-forward four days, and there was no such divine fortune on the side of the Bluebirds.

They put in a solid display, created chances and for the most part restricted their visitors, and yet come the final whistle they were left with nothing.

Only a Dean Rance goal – lashed home after Sean Shields had hit the bar – separated the sides, and Barrow had numerous chances to cancel that strike out.

Kingsley James had one effort cleared off the line by an unknowing defender, he saw another bundled behind for a corner, and Luke James directed a perfect glancing header towards the top of the goal only for Nathan Ashmore to tip it over the bar.

They were desperate for at least a point, and into stoppage time Steve Arnold brought himself forward for a succession of corners, but there was to be no reward.

As it is, Pennock’s side remain in the relegation zone by a single point – Woking’s 2-0 defeat at home to Bromley leaving them the most likely side within catching distance.

AFC still have superior goal-difference to the Cards – who are on a dreadful run of form – and have two games in hand. The first of those comes tomorrow at Guiseley.

The result at Nethermoor will tell us a lot about where this Barrow team will be playing their football next season.

Points are needed with ever-increasing desperation, and they could have been claimed here against a team on a fine run and now looking more and more likely to climb into the play-off places before the campaign is done.

There was an early chance that almost created a goal as Dan Jones – back from suspension – produced one of his trademark long throws to the near post which Ashmore flapped at and turned only just past his own goal.

But Ebbsfleet came right back – and ask any of the committed 76 away fans and they will point to hitting the woodwork three times as solid evidence that they should have won by more.

The first of those instances was early in the piece, as Danny Kedwell played in Luke Coulson to the left of the defence. His shot across goal beat Arnold, but struck the foot of the post, bouncing back to the grateful keeper as he lambasted the defence.

Back up the other end, Lewis Walters saw a fine effort from the right-hand corner of the area palmed away by Ashmore as it headed for the top corner, with Asa Hall unable to get full control as he steered the follow-up over the bar.

It was an attacking game, though without the definite chances of the opening spell being recreated too often. A long ball which was allowed to bounce being turned to Arnold by Corey Whitely was the visitors’ best.

Barrow went close to taking the lead as Luke James weaved his way in from the right and to the edge of the box, but Ashmore blocked his powerful shot and when the ball came out to Kingsley James, his effort hit a man on the line and was cleared.

Some people thought the ball was over the line. But there were no doubts five minutes later as Shields hit the bar from 18 yards as he was given time to shoot, and Rance was in acres of space and the quickest to react to fire home the follow-up.

Before the half was out, a long Jones throw came to Walters on the 18-yard line, and his effort was redirected by Hall, wrong-footing everyone, but going inches past the far post.

Ollie Cook turned a Whitely cross just the right side of his own goal, and Fleet hit the post as a free-kick delivered from the right was flicked on amid a crowd of heads and hit the foot of the upright.

There was renewed vigour from the hosts as they attacked with more purpose after the break, with a Nathan Waterston shot blocked, a Kingsley James effort from another Jones throw bundled behind for a corner, and the resulting set-piece from Walters turned over his own bar by Ashmore as it headed for goal.

Eastleigh were reliant on long-range efforts – Whitely dipping one over, Kedwell having one easily saved by Arnold and Shields blazing high – but Barrow had the better openings.

Walters had one shot saved by Ashmore and the keeper then flung himself up to tip over a Luke James header as it went for the top centre of the goal from a fine Walters cross.

They pushed and pushed, fought and fought – qualities sure to come in handy in the coming weeks – and even had Arnold attacking as they won corner after corner deep into injury time. But nothing would fall Barrow’s way and they ended the afternoon with nothing to show for their efforts.

Now it is a trip to Guiseley, who are already effectively down, but would be mathematically relegated with anything but a win tomorrow night.

The same enterprise is needed once more, this time with that little extra luck, that tad more killer instinct, those three vital points.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Steve Arnold 6, Donovan Makoma 7, Ollie Cook 6, Moussa Diarra 6, Calum Macdonald 7, Dan Jones 7, Kingsley James 7, Asa Hall 6 (Bedsente Gomis 86), Luke James 7, Nathan Waterston 6 (Jordan White 84), Lewis Walters 7.

Substitutes Not Used: Tony Diagne, Grant Holt, Bradley Bauress.

Yellow Cards: Cook (57).

Ebbsfleet United (4-4-2): Nathan Ashmore, Dean Rance, Dave Winfield, Kenny Clark, Andy Drury, Danny Kedwell, Sean Shields, Luke Coulson (Myles Weston 55), Chris Bush (Jack Connors 90), Lawrie Wilson, Corey Whitely (Norman Wabo 68).

Substitutes Not Used: Jon Miles, Jack Powell.

Referee: Daniel Middleton.

Attendance: 1,189 (76 from Ebbsfleet).

Star Man: Kingsley James – a solid defensive and threatening attacking display in the middle of the park.