BARROW Raiders’ winless streak extended to an eleventh game as they went down to a battling defeat at the hands of in-form Bradford Bulls.

It was the first meeting between the two sides for a quarter of a century and the opening stages proved an even affair with both teams completing their sets and exchanging possession.

The game’s first real opportunities saw Elliot Minchella denied by superb scrambling Barrow defence with Stargroth Amean then spilling a loose ball when a clean carry would have seen the winger go to the sticks.

Barrow’s scrambling defence held strong once again to hold Jordan Lilley up but the Bulls finally made use of their territorial advantage as Connor Farrell turned through a tackle to get his outstretched arm over the line.

A last tackle penalty then gave Barrow a set camped on the Bradford line, and after Jamie Dallimore nearly scored on the back of great play from Lewis Charnock, a poor pass from Wartovo Puara flew into touch.

Barrow’s sloppiness was costing them, and it did once more Tee Ritson broke and sent the supporting Deon Cross through but the centre knocked-on under pressure from the chasing Ethan Ryan.

A lack of discipline then crept in and after being penalised for a high shot, Bradford caught Amean short on the left side and worked Dalton Grant through into the corner for the try.

The Raiders got back into the game through a Charnock up and under that was taken by Shane Toal who plucked the ball out the air despite a nasty looking collision with Brandon Pickersgill before crawling over.

Silly errors from the restart though put Barrow under unnecessary pressure and the Bulls punished them through a try from Minchella after a short pass from Rowan Milnes.

Barrow then got lucky as Pickersgill broke through to score but the referee bizarrely pulled play back to penalise the Raiders for offside.

Bradford did get another score though as the Raiders were caught short numbers wise on their own line and Lilley sidestepped through to score.

The Raiders response was a good one and great work from a short ball from Dallimore paved the way for Alec Susino to crash beneath the sticks.

A late hit on Susino though as he scored sparked an exchange of handbags with the referee Nick Bennett placing the incident on report.

Susino’s try sparked some creativity out of the Raiders and after Charnock’s kick was spilt by Ethan Ryan and the former Bradford man picked the ball up and weaved his way through to set-up a grandstand finish.

Barrow’s last win at Odsal came in 1963 the day after JFK was assassinated and the wait will continue after magic from Lilley would halt the Barrow comeback and win the game for Bradford, as they created numbers on the overlap and the ball was worked wide to Jake Webster who raced round next to the uprights.

The game finished with the Bulls being reduced to 12 men in the final minute as Farrell seeing red in more way than one for striking after elbowing Dallimore in the tackle.

BARROW: Ritson, Toal, Cross, Spedding, Mean, Dallimore, Charnock, Johnson, Puara, Walne, Minoga, Stack, Susino. Subs: Walker, Mossop, Riley, Crellin.

Tries: Toal (45); Susino (66); Charnock (69). Goals: Charnock (1/3).

BRADFORD: Pickersgill, Grant, Webster, Minchella, Ryan, Lilley, Milnes, Kirk, Hallas, Crossley, Storton, Farrell, Wood. Subs: Wildie, Peltier, Hodgson, Roche.

Tries: Farrell (17); Grant (31); Minchella (50); Lilley (61); Webster (73). Goals: Minchella (2/4)

Sent Off: Farrell (80 – Striking)

REFEREE: Nick Bennett (Sheffield)