Barrow AFC 0 FC Halifax Town 0

To say this clash at Holker Street never got going would be an understatement, as Barrow AFC and Halifax Town played out a dreary goalless draw that will have been forgotten by the time supporters will have made their way to the pub.

You couldn’t quite call the Bluebirds’ performance lifeless – they would have lost if that was the case – but the same energy and intensity that saw them impress during Christmas was missing.

Also not apparent was any creativity, as they failed to muster a shot on target, meaning they have still yet to trouble the scorers since the turn of the year.

They could certainly have done with a pick-me-up after the sudden departure of Kemy Agustien and a banned player from his agency leaking that loanee Kyle McFarlane had been sent back to Birmingham on Thursday.

Instead, a week in which the change of ownership at the club was approved ended on a damp note.

Barrow made three changes from the team that lost at Havant & Waterlooville two weeks ago, as Dior Angus made his debut up front, while Luke Burgess replaced Agustien.

The other alteration saw Matt Elsdon come in for the suspended Kyle Jameson, which brought up the bizarre statistic of his first three competitive games for the Bluebirds all being against Halifax.

The visitors had the first big chance after six minutes when Matty Brown nodded the ball across for Scott Quigley and his looping header was clawed away by Joel Dixon, who was almost caught out of position.

We then had a fairly long stoppage after one of the linesmen had to go off injured and was replaced on the touchline by the fourth official, with all 22 players trying to keep warm in the meantime.

AFC had a let-off on 17 minutes when Matty Kosylo dinked the ball over Dixon and into the net after being played through by Cameron King, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out as he had strayed offside.

Quigley then threatened again when he turned Elsdon inside out in the area before shooting against the outside of Dixon’s near post.

The Shaymen will certainly have been happier with how the majority of a disjointed first half had gone, with Barrow not being careful enough in possession to put their opponents under any pressure.

A sloppy pass from captain Josh Granite then led to another chance for Quigley, who thankfully left the hosts off the hook by taking his shot early and hitting it straight at Dixon.

The second half started in a similarly slapdash fashion, forcing manager Ian Evatt to bring off Granite and bring on Sam Hird for his debut in the 53rd minute.

The change failed to spark Barrow and they were thankful that Kosylo shot wastefully over on the break, with chances, if anything, becoming scarcer at either end.

Home nerves wouldn’t have been helped by the sight of Ben Tomlinson coming on, as it was he who grabbed the late winner that knocked the Bluebirds out of the FA Trophy when these sides met last month.

Jacob Blyth then had an all-too-rare attempt for AFC when his shot on the turn from the edge of the area flew over and he was soon joined up top by Jack Hindle, who had replaced the quiet Angus.

Another chance quickly followed as the ball ricocheted off Blyth into the path of Rhys Norrington-Davies, who blazed what was a big opening well over the bar.

The home crowd were becoming increasingly exasperated with the Bluebirds’ reluctance to get the ball into the box with time now running out.

Halifax sub Jonathan Edwards slashed well wide after James Berrett’s free kick broke his way at the back post before Kosylo struck a free kick more that would be more at home at Craven Park, as the stalemate remained.

Barrow AFC (3-4-1-2): Dixon, Elsdon, Granite (Hird 53), Jones, Barthram, Taylor, Rooney (Kay 70), Norrington-Davies, Burgess, Blyth, Angus (Hindle 72)

Subs not used: Brown, Molyneux

FC Halifax Town (4-2-3-1): Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Maher, Berrett, Southwell (Tomlinson 70), King (Preston 81), Kosylo, Quigley (Edwards 74)

Subs not used: Rowley, Ferry

Referee: Declan Bourne

Attendance: 1,142