Boreham Wood 1Barrow AFC 1

If Barrow AFC's tilt for promotion has felt almost serene in recent weeks, this match at Boreham Wood was a timely reminder that there are plenty of battles yet to be won this season.

The Bluebirds remain unbeaten since their 4-2 reverse at Torquay way back on October 26, but that particular run was put in severe jeopardy by the one team in the National League whose own form comes close to matching theirs.

The second 45 minutes at Meadow Park was arguably the first time this season that AFC have come out second best across a whole half, meaning they were happy to come away from Hertfordshire with a point.

What will have helped was the news that filtered in from other parts of the country, as promotion rivals Harrogate and Yeovil both fell to defeats to leave Barrow four points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand.

They'll finally get one of those out of the way when they head to Solihull Moors tomorrow, but they'll have to perform a lot better than this if that lead is to grow to seven points by the weekend.

Manager Ian Evatt cited a virus that affected the squad during the week as to why the energy his team showed on the pitch wasn't up to its usual levels.

There was a noticeable drop in the second half, when the Wood gradually got on top and had chances to become only the third team to beat the Bluebirds in the league since August.

With AFC unable to harry their opponents into mistakes higher up the pitch, the back three had one of their tougher afternoons of the campaign - it's unlikely Matt Platt will have had to make so many blocks and interceptions during a game before.

The defence had to keep its composure before Barrow into the first half and it was during what turned out to be their best spell of the game that they went ahead after 34 minutes.

Jason Taylor, now unmasked, spread the ball left for Josh Kay, who was allowed to advance into the penalty area before he produced a lovely measured that nestled in the bottom corner.

Normally, the Bluebirds have kicked on from getting themselves in such a position, but they were never able to get into their stride after the break, as Boreham Wood demonstrated why they have surged into play-off contention in the last few months.

Their top scorer Kabongo Tshimanga had been starved of the ball in the first half but he went on to cause plenty of problems, with Joel Dixon blocking his attempted lob.

However, it was his strike partner Tyrone Marsh who rewarded the hosts' mounting pressure by equalising at the midway point of the second half as he slammed in Kieran Murtagh's low cross.

Tshimanga then should have put the Wood in front in the 82nd minute when he somehow blazed over an open goal after Marsh had beaten Dixon to Adi Yussuf's through ball. After riding their luck, AFC almost snatched the win when John Rooney's free kick clipped the top of the bar with virtually the last kick.

It prompted Boreham Wood boss Luke Garrard to hug Evatt, seemingly out of sheer relief, a bit of levity between two fiercely driven young managers to round off a clash of high quality.

Boreham Wood (3-4-1-2): Ashmore, Champion, Fyfield, Ilesanmi, Smith, Ricketts, Murtagh, Thomas, Mingoia (Yussuf 68), Marsh, Tshimanga.

Subs not used: Woodards, Stephens, McDonnell, Shakes.

Barrow AFC (3-4-1-2): Dixon, Hird, Platt, Brough, Barry, Rooney, Taylor, Kay, Hardcastle (White 68), Angus (Dyson 73), Quigley (Harrison 77).

Subs not used: Brown, Hindle.

Referee: Adrian Quelch

Attendance: 1,099 (238 away)

Bluebirds star man: Josh Kay