Barrow AFC 2 Leyton Orient 3

In the end, Leyton Orient were just that bit more clinical than Barrow AFC, as the National League promotion chasers ran out winners in what was a superb contest at Holker Street.

It’s a second straight defeat in the National League in the Bluebirds, but it could have been so different if they had found a killer touch in front of goal a little sooner.

Nonetheless, it was a brave fightback that meant they finished the night with their pride intact and demonstrated yet again that they are capable of causing the division’s big boys problems.

Evatt largely gave the players who slumped at Barnet last Saturday the chance to make amends, with the only change being an enforced one, as Lee Molyneux came in for Jack Barthram, who suffered a slight concussion at The Hive.

Just like the weekend, however, Barrow fell behind to a soft early goal as right wing-back Sam Ling was found in space by Jobi McAnuff and his overhit cross was misjudged by Joel Dixon, with the ball drifting into the top corner.

The Bluebirds had a chance to quickly hit back when John Rooney picked out Josh Kay with a fine pass, but the winger was quickly closed down by Orient ‘keeper Dean Brill, who made the block.

Dixon then went a long way towards making amends as he produced one of the saves of the season to tip Jordan Maguire-Drew’s effort on to the underside of the bar with his fingertips.

Just a few minutes later, the AFC stopper timed his run off his line to perfection to prevent Macauley Bonne from getting on the end of Craig Clay’s through ball.

The end product just wasn’t quite there from the hosts, as Molyneux whipped a free kick from just outside the box wide, while Lewis Hardcastle hit a set-piece from further out off target as well.

The O’s were fashioning openings just a little too easily and the hosts were let off by a weak finish from Bonne, as he stabbed wide after being played through by Maguire-Drew.

In what was an entertainingly open first half, chances continue to come at either end, with Jacob Blyth just unable to find the target before Dan Happe sent a header from Maguire-Drew’s corner over.

Kay then had another good chance to draw AFC level four minutes before half-time, but he dragged his effort across Brill and wide of the far post.

Barrow were made to pay for not taking their chances, as Orient doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart.

Maguire-Drew was found in space down the left and his played the ball inside for Jay Simpson, who waltzed past Dixon to score into an empty net and leave the Bluebirds with a mountain to climb.

Bonne then almost killed the match off as a contest in the 55th minute when he arrowed a shot from the edge of the area against the post with Dixon unable to get anywhere near it.

There was then another moment that summer up Barrow’s frustrations in front of goal, as Molyneux played in a terrific low cross from the left that Blyth couldn’t turn in at the near post.

And yet again the difference between the two sides was laid bare, as Bonne was played in behind by Simpson before laying the ball across to give Maguire-Drew an easy finish.

Barrow finally gave themselves a foothold, as Kay’s deflected effort from just inside the area nestled into the net with 19 minutes left.

Four minutes later, it was game on again, as the ball was worked into the penalty area and Jack Hindle passed for fellow sub Rhys Turner to claim his first goal for the Bluebirds and really raise hopes, but the equaliser wasn’t forthcoming.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon, Brown, Jameson, Jones, Molyneux, Rooney (Burgess 86), Jennings, Hardcastle, Kay, Blyth (Hindle 59), Angus (Turner 66)

Subs not used: Saltmer, Sloan

Leyton Orient (5-2-1-2): Brill, Ling, Coulson, Happe (Turley 65), Epkiteta, Widdowson, McAnuff, Clay, Maguire-Drew (Brophy 76), Bonne, Simpson (Lee 85)

Subs not used: Sargeant, Harrold

Referee: Andrew Miller

Attendance: 1,130