Barnet 3 Barrow AFC 1

Barrow AFC were the bearers of gifts at Barnet to ensure that their first visit to The Hive was one that they’ll want to quickly put behind them.

This was just their second defeat in 15 league games, their previous good run based on a solid defence that had kept ten clean sheets since the back end of November.

But that solidity was nowhere to be seen on this occasion, as they frequently caused their own problems against a home side who really needed these three points in their attempts to pull themselves out of trouble in the National League.

They did finally give a glimpse of what they are capable of after Kyle Jameson’s first goal for the club raised nerves amongst the Bees, but by then they’d given themselves too much to do.

They’ll have a quick chance to put this right when they welcome Leyton Orient to Holker Street on Tuesday night, where they’ll again hope facing one of the division’s top sides will bring the best out of them.

A first Barrow start for Steve Jennings was one of two changes from last week’s draw with Ebbsfleet, as the midfielder replaced the suspended Jason Taylor, while Jacob Blyth came in for Jack Hindle up front.

The Bluebirds fell behind thanks to the sort of defensive mistake they haven’t been making in recent months, as Jameson missed a header from Cheye Alexander’s cross he should have made.

Lurking behind him was Elliott Johnson, who had time to bring the ball under control before slotting the ball past Joel Dixon with just five minutes gone.

Barnet were counter-attacking well, with Medy Elito beating Rooney before standing up a cross that Jack Barham volleyed wide of the near post.

Some superb work down the left by Lewis Hardcastle then set up a big chance for Barrow to equalise, as he beat Andre Boucaud down the left before setting up Dior Angus, who blazed horribly high and wide.

Angus was again unable to hit the target as he shot powerfully over after doing well to work himself into a good position on the edge of the area.

The Bluebirds were getting closer, at least, with Connor Brown smashing an effort from a narrow angle just over, following a good challenge from Johnson on Josh Kay, six minutes into the second half.

While they were struggling to test Mark Cousins in the Barnet goal, Dixon had his palms stung by a terrific long-range drive from Elito that he just about managed to push over the bar.

But he could do nothing to prevent Barrow from falling further behind on 62 minutes when a good ball by Barham put Shaquile Coulthirst in behind and the hosts’ top scorer finished clinically into the bottom corner.

Manager Ian Evatt responded by replacing Kay and Angus with Jack Hindle and the returning Rhys Turner, recognising a change of approach in attack was badly needed by the Bluebirds.

Barnet were convinced they should have had a penalty that could have killed the contest off when Coulthirst went down under Jameson’s challenge, but their strong appeals were waved away.

They needn’t have worried, as a moment that summed up the visitors’ afternoon did finish the match as a contest.

Wes Fonguck chipped in a harmless-looking cross from the left, but Dan Jones, who was standing in as captain, had a brain fade as he headed past a stranded Dixon and into his own net.

Barrow did finally rally, with Cousins doing well to keep out headers from Jones and Jameson following two good crosses from Hardcastle.

Evatt’s men pulled one back with ten minutes left when Hardcastle’s corner was kept alive by Turner, who turned the ball back across goal, where Jameson pounced from close range.

While it was too little too late, AFC did threaten a second in the closing stages, with Hardcastle, who could at least hold his head up high, sent a long-range rasper whistling over the top.

Barnet (4-2-3-1): Cousins, Alexander, Reynolds, Sweeney, Johnson, Robson, Boucaud, Elito (Taylor 75), Fonguck, Barham, Coulthirst (Mason-Clark 90+2)

Subs not used: Matrevics, Harrison, Akinola

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon, Barthram (Molyneux 45), Jameson, Jones, Brown, Rooney, Jennings, Hardcastle, Kay (Hindle 63), Blyth, Angus (Turner 63)

Subs not used: Burgess, Sloan

Referee: Savvas Yianni

Attendance: 1,022