AHEAD of this afternoon’s Betfred Championship clash with Sheffield Eagles, Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey predicted it would be like a chess match.

To some extent the match at Craven Park was, although perhaps more akin to the 1988 computer game 'Battle Chess', where the pieces would fight each other when being taken.

Yet just as it seemed to be heading for a stalemate, there was one last twist in the tale.

On the stroke of full time, referee Matt Rossleigh harshly penalised Raiders skipper Martin Aspinwall for offside at a play-the-ball and then appeared to allow the Eagles to take the kick from several metres in front of where the offence was given.

Patrick Walker duly stepped up and slotted the ball through the posts with the last action of the game, snatching a 24-22 win.

Check and, indeed, mate.

The manner the defeat came in was galling for Crarey and his players – particularly after a try by Tom Loxam in the second half was ruled out for a forward pass,

Not only that, but they are facing being without impact prop Ryan Duffy for a long spell due to him sustaining a left-knee injury just minutes after coming on.

Take nothing away from Sheffield though. Backs Josh Gudzek and Ben Blackmore were as dangerous as Crarey expected, and both could well have scored tries had it not been for superb tackles by Barrow full-back Tee Ritson.

Winger Ryan Millar and half-back Walker were the tormentors-in-chief though, with the former collecting kicks from the latter twice to score tries.

Barrow can take heart from the displays of Papua New Guinean pair Wartovo Puara Jr and Stargroth Amean, with hooker Puara opening the scoring on 10 minutes by scooting from dummy-half to score under the posts for a try followed by Jamie Dallimore kicking the first of three conversions.

Sheffield's quick offloading and speed around the ruck saw them able to exploit gaps in the Raiders' defence though, including in the 23rd minute when Joel Farrell burst through for a converted try.

The Walker-Millar combination then saw Sheffield go in at half time leading 10-6, but when the visitors fumbled the kick-off at the start of the second half it led to Deon Cross sending Amean over in the corner to level things up, with Dallimore's conversion hitting the post.

Five minutes later, Amean cut in from the right for his second score after taking a pass from Jarrad Stack but it was even again on 52 minutes when Anthony Thackeray burrowed over.

Then Walker put in another kick for Millar to chase down and score – the former converting via the post – only for Barrow to reply seven minutes from time when Josh Johnson forced his way over.

And that looked to be that, until Mr Rossleigh's intervention.

Barrow Raiders: Tee Ritson; Stargroth Amean, Deon Cross, Jake Spedding, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock; Tom Walker, Wartovo Puara Jr, Josh Johnson, Jordan Walne, Jono Smith, Martin Aspinwall. Interchange: Jake Carter, Willie Minoga, Ryan Duffy, Jarrad Stack.

Sheffield Eagles: Josh Guzdek; Ryan Millar, James Glover, Jason Crookes, Ben Blackmore; Patrick Walker, Anthony Thackeray; Bradley Tagg, James Davey, Matthew James, Oliver Davies, Joel Farrell, Aaron Brown. Interchange: Corey Kelim, Patrick Burns, Sonny Esslemont, Shaun Pick.

Referee: Matt Rossleigh.

Attendance: 1,514.

Playback: 10 – Puara Jr try, Dallimore conv (6-0); 23 – Farrell try, Walker conv (6-6); 40 – Millar try (6-10); 41 – Amean try (10-10); 46 – Amean try, Dallimore conv (16-10); 52 – Thackeray try, Walker conv (16-16); 63 – Millar try, Walker conv (22-16); 73 – Johnson try, Dallimore conv (22-22); 80 – Walker pen (22-24).

Raiders star man: Wartovo Puara Jr.