Barrow 1
Leyton Orient 1

Promising midfielder Robbie Gotts netted for the first time since joining Barrow. But his 48th-minute strike in front of the biggest league crowd of the season at Holker Street – 3,374 – couldn’t earn Mark Cooper’s team a third successive Sky Bet League Two win.

Maximum points and a return to the play-off places were snatched away by Omar Beckles’ 69th minute equaliser.

Defender Beckles prodded in from close range shortly after Patrick Brough hit the crossbar for the home side.

But a draw was probably the right result with keeper Paul Farman producing a hat-trick of excellent saves from Theo Archibald.

Tranmere’s win over Colchester on Friday night dropped Barrow out of the top seven before kick-off, with Orient one point and two places better off in sixth.

The Londoners ensured they wouldn’t be disadvantaged by one of their longest trips of the season by travelling up to Cumbria on Thursday.

And while Barrow looked to follow up wins against Newport and Mansfield, the O’s looked to avoid a third league game without victory.

With top scorer Ollie Banks suspended, Barrow brought in Tom White as replacement while Ozzy Zanzala, fresh from a midweek goal against Fleetwood, was preferred to Josh Kay.

What transpired was an even contest with both sides looking most likely to break the deadlock via a set piece.

Jamie Jones, with a shot blocked by Craig Clay, and Josh Gordon, narrowly failing to touch a weak Orient clearance, went closest for the home side in the opening period.

Gordon (twice) and Zanzala appealed for first-half penalties but referee Peter Wright saw no wrong in the challenges.

But it was Orient who went closest to taking the lead before half-time. Fortunately for Barrow, Farman was equal to Archibald’s powerful, rising left foot drive after towering Harry Smith’s flick on.

Smith’s personal dual with AFC skipper Mark Ellis was an absorbing sub plot of the main action.

Farman was again one of three keepers named in Cooper’s latest squad but, unlike his Papa John’s Trophy cameo, there was no repeat outfield encore on this occasion for Scott Moloney.

The importance of Farman’s intervention was underlined when the Bluebirds hit the front two minutes after the re-start.

New dad Remeao Hutton’s pass spreadeagled Orient’s back three allowing Gotts to run on and finish expertly with a right foot shot from 10 yards.

Ruel Sotiriou’s 54th-minute introduction for Aaron Drinan gave Orient a different attacking dimension.

The Cypriot’s inviting cross was narrowly out of reach of Archibald’s despairing dive. The latter, however, made perfect contact with a 57th-minute shot which Farman again did splendidly to push away.

Then came the turning point as Gotts played in Brough only for the left back’s angled drive to smash against the bar and away to safety.

Orient maximised their let-off by equalising after 69 minutes. Archibald’s corner wasn’t cleared and Beckles eventually netted from close range.

Farman then produced another vital save from Archibald for what could have been late heartbreak for Barrow’s battling performance.