Ollie Banks scored his first goal for the club as 10-man Barrow gained a battling point against Bristol Rovers at the Dunes Stadium.

Banks pounced in first-half stoppage time to cancel out Sam Nicholson’s 43rd-minute effort for Joey Barton’s visitors.

And the Bluebirds, still unbeaten at home in League Two this season, might have taken all three points despite playing more than an hour without captain Mark Ellis for violent conduct.

Referee Ross Joyce also cautioned Remeao Hutton, Tom White and Ollie Banks and Ozzy Zanzala plus Rovers’ duo Aaron Collins and Sam Finley.

Barrow were under the cosh in the closing minutes but held out for a deserved draw.

A lively opening saw keepers Paul Farman and James Belshaw called into action, setting the tone for a feisty encounter.

Farman scrambled across goal to keep out Brett Pitman’s header from Nicholson’s cross while Rovers’ summer signing from Swindon appealed in vain for a penalty after the resulting corner.

A carbon copy riposte saw Patrick Brough hare down the home left, fire over a trademark centre only for Belshaw to tip away Ozzy Zanzala’s goal-bound header from six yards.

Farman was called into action again to thwart Aaron Collins as Rovers looked to capitalise on the stiff breeze at their backs.

Both sides were happy to use the aerial route, resulting in plenty of heading practice, particularly for Ellis.

So it was a major blow when the skipper – after a Rovers’ corner – received his red card after a six-yard-box melee.

Brough looked to be initially involved, Rovers’ Mark Hughes finished on the floor, either pushed on punched, and once calm was finally restored Ellis received his marching orders.

Within minutes Josh Kay was withdrawn for Jamie Jones in a change of formation but Rovers soon made the most of their one-man advantage.

Pitman shot over the bar, Collins forced a save from Farman, dragged another shot wide before Nicholson made the breakthrough.

Even then Farman got a hand to the shot from 12 yards but neither he or Brough could keep out the ball.

So, it was against the run of play when Banks equalised in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time.

Brown’s replacement, George Williams, shot from the edge of the area and Banks helped it on into the corner of the net.

Barrow continued to improve after the break despite their one-man deficit.

Williams forced Belshaw to push over a 30-yard free kick, Gordon’s cross just needed a goalward touch while the latter’s drive from the top of the D, smashed against Belshaw’s crossbar.

Cooper’s decision to name two keepers on the bench – Josh Lillis and Scott Maloney – may have been out of necessity. But when Paul Farman went down injured 15 minutes from time, he was certainly covered for options.

However, Farman recovered and then produced a brilliant save as the game edged towards stoppage time to deny Harry Anderson.

Rovers gained a clutch of even later corners – but Barrow’s depleted ranks stood firm.