LEYTON ORIENT 4 (Jones 28og, Koroma 72, Bonne 90, 90+3) BARROW AFC 1 (L James 7)

WHEN something you have relied upon so heavily lets you down, you know you are in a problematic place. Barrow AFC’s away form deserted them just when they need it by their side.

With home results so diabolical, performances and points on the road have kept heads above water.

On Saturday, Leyton Orient stuck their boots on top and left the strugglers with that sinking feeling.

They have not gone under quite yet, but dipping below the dreaded dotted line, they find themselves in a damp, cold and lonely place.

Ady Pennock called it just about right.

His team will probably drown if they cannot find a cure for their home discomfort inside the next week.

Holker Street welcomes Eastleigh tomorrow before Ebbsfleet at the weekend. Failing to end that five-and-a-half-month wait for a home victory is unthinkable. It would surely mean National League North football, a division littered with big clubs and even bigger budgets and not the same place they used to play in four years ago.

Barrow could already be on their way to safety, taking the lead at Brisbane Road after a good start.

Dan Jones’ brilliant cross from the left was glanced on by Luke James, and he buried his header out of the reach of Dean Brill.

The Bluebirds fans fancied another productive away day, but things began to unravel.

On 28 minutes, notice was served. Jobi McAnuff crossed and top-scorer Macauley Bonne thrashed the ball into the net.

A late flag was raised, but it required just seconds for one to stand.

The same two combined and Bonne’s shot hit the unlucky Jones and it crept beyond Steve Arnold. The visiting defenders were slow to react, and Orient were on level terms.

Barrow enjoyed more first-half chances, and Brill had to be alert, keeping out Calum MacDonald’s free-kick, but the O’s ended the stronger, a goalmouth scramble and a McAnuff free-kick testing Pennock’s patience.

The second half was going to plan until a needless and frustrating switch off.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Justin Edinburgh brought on Josh Koroma and he took just two minutes to make his mark.

He had a helping hand, defending at the back post was beyond sloppy as the forward could not believe his luck with his first touch. Time seemed to stand still for Barrow in their own six-yard box, and any more of those type of gifts at key stages in April and time will be surely be up.

Things soon got progressively worse.

Jones was already on a booking when he had too much to say to the referee after pushing James Brophy, and he walked.

With him down the Brisbane Road tunnel went any hope Pennock’s team had of returning home with anything to show for their afternoon.

Orient, much improved under Justin Edinburgh, then took total control as the away side tried to recover from the double blow.

Bonne is lethal at the best of time, but against 10 men chasing the game, he came into his own.

With minutes left, Brophy found the striker with a good square ball and the home side’s top-scorer stroked home for 3-1.

He was not done there either. Joe Widdowson this time the provider and Bonne just could not miss as he tucked away goal number 20 of an impressive National League season.

The two late goals were harsh on Barrow, who may not have ultimately deserved too much from the game but perhaps were harshly dealt with by the end.

Now, they sink or their swim. Can they salvage their season over the next six days, or will the jaws of the National League North open wide and swallow them whole?


Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Dean Brill, Sam Ling, Josh Coulson (Marvin Ekpitete 25), George Elokobi, Joe Widdowson, Jobi McAnuff, Ebou Adams, Craig Clay (Lamar Reynolds 90), James Brophy, David Mooney (Josh Koroma 70), Macauley Bonne.

Substitutes not used: Charlie Grainger, Myles Judd.

Barrow AFC (4-4-1-1): Steve Arnold 6, Jack Barthram 7, Ollie Cook 7, Moussa Diarra 7, Calum Macdonald 6, Jordan White 6 (Grant Holt 56, 6), Kingsley James 7, Dan Jones 5, Nathan Waterston 6 (David Fitzpatrick 70, 6), Bedsente Gomis 6, (Lewis Walters 86), Luke James 7.

Substitutes not used: Asa Hall, Donovan Makoma.

Yellow Cards: Dan Jones, Bedsente Gomis, Calum MacDonald.

Red cards: Dan Jones.

Attendance: 3,979.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

Next Game: Barrow AFC v Eastleigh, tomorrow, 7.45pm kick-off.