Maidenhead United 1 Barrow AFC 1

Barrow AFC couldn’t quite bounce back from last week’s collapse, as Mike Fondop’s equaliser ment they had to settle for a draw in the sunshine at Maidenhead United.

The Magpies had offered very little in a low-key first half at York Road, but they were the sharper team in the second half and eventually found their reward as Jack Hindle’s opening goal was cancelled out.

The Bluebirds didn’t subside after losing their lead in the same manner as they did against Dover, but they were still well off the pace for much of the second half.

Their belated strong finish means they still have something to build on when Hartlepool – and their army of knights – visit Holker Street on Monday, but they’ll also be looking to end a four-match winless run.

Two changes were made to the team that threw the result a away last week, as centre-back Kyle Jameson and wing-back Josh Kay came in for Dan Jones and Jack Barthram, respectively.

Barrow had to get through a fairly sticky start on what was a dry, bobbly pitch, which Maidenhead not surprisingly looked to bypass by getting the ball forward into space as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t really creating many openings for them, though, with Joel Dixon holding on to Josh Kelly’s effort from Ricky Gabriel’s cut-back from the left a rare half-chance.

Against the run of play, the Bluebirds were presented with the lead after 19 minutes, as Remy Clerima failed to deal with Jamie Philpot’s loose lay-off, allowing Hindle to nip in and slide the ball into the net, via the post.

It was Hindle’s 12th goal of the season, which made him AFC’s outright top scorer this season, going ahead of former Sheffield United loanee Tyler Smith.

A second almost followed four minutes later, as a great ball by Lewis Hardcastle put Philpot in behind, but he was forced wide as he tried to round goalkeeper Carl Pentney, who made a good save.

Dixon’s handling was tested again, as he held on to Fondop’s header from Max Worsfold’s corner, which was thankfully straight at him.

As manager Ian Evatt, who was serving a touchline ban for the game, predicted earlier in the week, the match wasn’t a pretty one, but Barrow at least kept their lead into half-time.

Rhys Norrington-Davies was let off the hook after Maidenhead sub Adrian Clifton stole the ball from him on the byline, with captain Josh Granite bailing him out by cutting out his ball across goal.

The Bluebirds seemed to be determined to cause their own problems, with Kyle Jameson’s header back just about making it back to Dixon, rather than being seized upon by Kelly.

The visitors had a kindly break in the 65th minute when Harold Odametey appeared to have equalised when his half-volley from the edge of the area found the bottom corner.

However, the Magpies’ celebrations were cut shot by a late flag from the linesman, who judged the offside Kelly to be interfering with play.

But the hosts were making all the running now and were deservedly level with 16 minutes left when Fondop was found in loads of space by Gabriel’s cross, allowing him time to control before slamming his finish into the net.

AFC were threatening another collapse in the closing stages, as Odametey beat Granite before fortunately shooting straight at Dixon.

The Bluebirds did manage to regain some composure this time and carved out a good chance to win it in the 88th minute when John Rooney found sub Connor Brown, whose shot was kept out by Pentney at his near post.

Maidenhead could have snatched it themselves off the last kick when Fondop, after some bizarre showboating – teed up Clifton, who could only lift his shot well over.

Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Pentney, Twumasi, Clerima, Massey, Gabriel, Nombe, Odametey, Comley, Worsfold (Clifton 45), Kelly (Akintunde 70), Fondop

Subs not used: Steer, Bird, Owusu

Barrow AFC (3-1-4-2): Dixon, Hird, Granite, Jameson, Taylor, Kay (Brown 78), Rooney, Hardcastle, Norrington-Davies, Philpot, Hindle (Angus 69)

Subs not used: Elsdon, Barthram, Molyneux

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 1,820