BARROW AFC’s defence stood firm once again and held out one of the National League’s top sides to claim a valuable point at Boreham Wood.

After denying Dover a goal in a stalemate last weekend, they travelled to Hertfordshire and withstood everything Boreham Wood could throw at them.

An even first half, with chances shared between the teams, even if the hosts had the better of the play, was followed by 45 minutes of relentless Wood attacks.

But the defence of Donovan Makoma – who had one key intervention to get a touch when Morgan Ferrier seemed certain to score – Ollie Cook, Moussa Diarra and Calum Macdonald, so lauded in recent days by boss Ady Pennock and his assistant Jamie Day, would not break.

As a quartet, they were always in the right place, and behind them Steve Arnold ensured anything that did get through was well dealt with. A third clean sheet in four games with this defence bodes well, especially as Solihull were likewise held to a goalless draw against Aldershot, while above them Woking, Maidstone and Halifax all lost.

Torquay beating Chester does bring them to within seven points, but Barrow will be looking up rather than down – albeit with Solihull always on their shoulder – after another good effort against a promotion contender.

Pennock stuck with the side that held Dover the previous weekend. The only change came among the substitutes, with Nathan Waterston –battling a hamstring issue – left out and Harry Panayiotou returning following international duty with St Kitts and Nevis in the Dominican Republic.

On a wet spring afternoon, with the south being battered by rain at the start of the weekend – to the extent that games at Dover and Eastleigh were postponed and that at Maidenhead abandoned at half-time – AFC did have the first – and their best – chance of the afternoon.

As he had repeatedly in the Dover game, it was Macdonald who delivered a free-kick into the area, this one being met by the head of skipper Asa Hall. His effort was on target, but Wood’s England C keeper Grant Smith was at full stretch to tip it over the bar.

The Bluebirds defence was called on to keep their hosts from mounting too great a threat at the other end, with Makoma, Cook, Diarra and Macdonald again working well.

Wood eventually carved a real opening as Kane Smith swung in a cross that was met by the head of Ricky Shakes, but his effort was just wide of the target, with Steve Arnold happy to watch it go past the post.

Cook showed his physical resilience as he was tumbled into the hoardings around the pitch by a challenge from Keiran Murtagh, the loanee soon back on his feet and into the action and the sides cancelled each other out.

Boreham Wood were the team doing most of the pressing though – Bruno Andrade wasting a free-kick after he had been brought down in a dangerous position after one of his many threatening runs by over-hitting the ball out of play.

Luke James had another effort on target for the visitors, but this one was easily held by Grant Smith, though the keeper’s clearance was less assured as he hit his own man, though without creating an opening for AFC.

Arnold was finally tested as Andrade hit an effort on target from the edge of the area, but the Barrow man was well-placed and got behind the drive with little difficulty.

Barrow’s best chances were coming when the swung balls into the Wood area, and this showed again as Bedsenté Gomis found the head of Kingsley James, but the on-loan midfielder was off-target going for his first goal in a Bluebirds shirt.

Neither side was able to carve another opening before the break, the defences generally on top and midfield where most of the play was taking place.

Makoma was alive to the danger early in the second period to deal with an Andrade cross from the right along the goal-line, getting the vital touch to put the ball behind for a corner when all it needed was a touch from Morgan Ferrier or Joe Quigley to put it in the back of the net.

Murtagh and Andrade kept posing questions with their runs and balls into the area, but Barrow were defending well as a team – key for them when goal difference could well be key come the end of the season and theirs is better than almost all the teams within reach above them, as well as those below.

A Ferrier drive took a deflection over the bar as the pressure continued to mount, while the same man over-hit a cross soon after, with AFC having to weather the storm.

There were few openings at the other end, Hall not testing Grant Smith with a long-range effort with one that was at least on target.

It was then back to the normal routine of the half. Murtagh smashed an effort over the bar from a set-piece routine after Diarra had brought down Andrade and the pressure continued to mount from the home side.

Macdonald, who had hit the post with a set-piece against Dover, tried to go one better this time out, but his free-kick produced a straightforward catch from Grant Smith.

Arnold saved a low effort from Andrade, before Ferrier took down an Andrade cross with skill, but his effort – which seemed destine to find the back of the net, deflected off Makoma for a corner.

Andrade took another shot, this time going across the face of goal, with Ferrier not quite able to reach it for the final touch.

Tempers flared as the hosts struggled to find a way to break the deadlock, with a flurry of yellow cards from referee Thomas Bramall following a coming-together near the AFC goalmouth.

The frustration continued to grow as Cook blocked and effort from substitute Danny Woodards, while Bradley Bauress put the behind for a corner as Ferrier threatened.

Ferrier turned provider to slip Michael Folivi through as the end of normal time loomed, but the defence closed him down at the last moment and Barrow lived to fight again.

So goes the tale for their recent matches, two goalless draws enough to keep them out of the drop-zone, with rivals failing to do any better. The Bluebirds head back to Holker Street on Easter Monday to face AFC Fylde hoping to better this result and continue to elude the grasp of the bottom four.

Boreham Wood: Grant Smith, Kane Smith, Dave Stephens, Jamie Turley, Mark Ricketts, Tom Champion, Ricky Shakes, Keiran Murtagh, Bruno Andrade (Michael Folivi 80), Joe Quigley (Danny Woodards 60), Morgan Ferrier.

Substitutes Not Used: Ollie Harfield, Scott Doe, Alex Davey.

Yellow Cards: Turley, Murtagh.

Barrow AFC: Steve Arnold, Donovan Makoma, Ollie Cook, Moussa Diarra, Calum Macdonald, Asa Hall (Dan Jones 74), Bedsenté Gomis, Kingsley James, Grant Holt (Jordan White 70), Luke James, Lewis Walters (Bradley Bauress 83).

Substitutes Not Used: Harry Panayiotou, Tony Diagne.

Yellow Cards: Gomis.

Referee: Thomas Bramall (Sheffield).

Attendance: 623 (88 from Barrow).

Next Game: Barrow AFC v AFC Fylde, Easter Monday, 3pm kick-off.