IT’S not job done, not by a long way for Barrow who are still embroiled in the battle at the bottom.

But you couldn’t disguise the feeling that this could be the result which sets the club on the road to salvation.

This wasn’t an outcome many would have predicted, especially at the bobbly and punishing York Road in sub-zero temperatures, one of the hardest grounds in the league to win at, purely because the pitch is simply not conducive to playing football. It’s been a graveyard for full-time teams this year after Maidenhead earned promotion on it 11 months ago.

Alan Devonshire’s Magpies, punishing and brutal in their approach, usually love days like this. They enjoy the cold, they thrive on it when you don’t want to be there and they just don’t let you leave with three points without one hell of a fight.

Until Saturday that is. When Maidenhead didn’t turn up, Barrow sensed it. Playing the hosts at their own game, the strugglers secured a critical three points at a place only a handful have won at in the past 18 months.

The match winner, striker Luke James, took his chance superbly, the goal at the start of the second half the least he deserved.

“We know this could be a big win for us,” said the forward, who takes on his former club Hartlepool on Wednesday – a game live on BT Sport.

“We have played better and not won this season. It was edgy and it was hard to get on the ball at times but we stuck with it.

“We defended very well – we know how hard Maidenhead are to play against but we kept believing.

“It was a great cross and I just stayed involved. We’re happy with the result, really happy. Our away form this season gave us encouragement that we could come here and win and we’ve managed to do that. We’ve now got to follow this up on Wednesday night.”

To win at resolute Maidenhead you will need a little luck on your side. Ady Pennock’s side got that in the first half when centre-back Moussa Diarra left a leg in and home striker Sean Marks hit the deck.

United were screaming for a penalty but referee Chris O’Donnell wasn’t having any of it. It was a big call, and looked a penalty.

The hosts edged the first half, and had Moses Emmanuel had his shooting boots on they could have led at the break but Steve Arnold was equal to his shot after the former Bromley forward was given too much room on the right.

Things opened up after half-time and Barrow’s start to the second warmed their supporters who had made the trip down without confidence the game would even go ahead.

Ultimately they were thankful it did, and not just because it wasn’t a wasted journey. James wriggled free in the box four minutes after half-time, and after Bedsente Gomis’ good work the forward took control of the situation to fire his side in front. The 70 or so Bluebirds were in fine voice, and they almost saw them snatch a second soon after.

Nathan Waterston worked outside hard again but Lewis Walters couldn’t apply the finish. Waterston then had a chance himself but lacked composure. The question was now if the visitors would pay for their profligacy.

The hosts were always going to get chances and Emmanuel’s double miss really should have seen them level. The forward was having an off day and the Magpies smelled blood when Gomis was carelessly cautioned for a second time with nine minutes plus stoppage time to play.

The kitchen sink was expected, but it wasn’t thrown as Barrow held firm to clinch a huge win.


Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Carl Pentney 6, Gabriel Osho 5, Alan Massey 7, Jake Goodman 6, Rene Steer 6, Harry Pritchard 7, Chris Smith 6 (Jake Hyde 71) James Comley 6 (Ryan Upward 6) Harold Odametey 7, Sean Marks 6, Moses Emmanuel 6. Subs not used: Sam Barratt, Nana Owusu, Adrian Clifton.

Yellow cards: Moses Emmanuel, Ryan Upward.

Red cards: None.

Barrow AFC (4-1-4-1): Steve Arnold 7, Donovan Makoma 6, Oliver Cook 7, Moussa Diarra 8, Calum MacDonald 8, Asa Hall 7, Nathan Waterston 7 (Jordan White 90) Kingsley James 7, Bedsente Gomis 6, Lewis Walters 7 (Bradley Bauress 81) Luke James 7. Subs not used: Dan Jones, Harry Panayiotou, Tony Diagne.

Yellow: Kingsley James, Bedsente Gomis, Lewis Walters.

Red: Bedsente Gomis.

Attendance: 1,030.

Referee: Chris O’Donnell 7/10.


Calum MacDonald (Barrow)