VALIANT ten-man Barrow slipped to a painful late 1-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers last night.

January signing Niall Canavan left the visitors a man light for almost an hour after his frustrating first-half sending off at the MEM.

Inspired shot-stopper Paul Farman pulled off a string of fine saves to keep Joey Barton’s hosts at bay.

But Anthony Evans’ sensational winner eight minutes from time sent the battling Bluebirds to a gut-wrenching loss.

The defeat left Mark Cooper’s side just a solitary point above the Football League trapdoor.

Barrow have worryingly failed to score for 343 minutes and that was John Rooney’s stunning 35-yard effort against Hartlepool.

Cooper named two changes from the side which settled for a goalless draw against Harrogate at Holker Street on Saturday.

Veteran Jason Taylor returned for his first start since the defeat at Hartlepool while Sunderland loanee Will Harris made his first start in over a month.

The Bluebirds started brightly as top scorer Ollie Banks forced Rovers’ stopper James Belshaw, who had conceded just once in six games leading into this encounter, into a good low save.

And Paul Farman needed to be just as alert to keep out Harry Anderson down the other end in the fifth minute.

Cooper’s charges then had to soak up some pressure as the in-form hosts created some decent chances.

Anderson, searching for a third goal in five games, threatened again as he flashed his curling effort just wide of the far post.

Veteran striker Leon Clarke, making his first start since September, saw his strike saved low to Farman’s left in the 27th minute.

But Barrow were given a mountain to climb as they went down to ten men just five minutes later.

Defender Canavan was given his marching orders as he pulled Clarke down to the ground as he chased a ball over the top.

Barrow breathed a sigh of relief as set-piece specialist Anthony Evans hit his free-kick over the bar.

Clarke then had a goal chalked off for offside before Farman produced a sensational save.

Harry Anderson’s cross clipped the bar before Farman did amazingly well to somehow keep out Evans’ close-range effort.

And just before the break Farman had to be at it again to tip Elliot Anderson’s cross-turned-shot over the bar.

After the restart, Farman kept out Nick Anderton’s header.

The Bluebirds briefly rallied as Robbie Gotts’ strike from out of the box was well saved by Belshaw.

Cooper’s men were let off when striker Clarke squandered a great chance as he fired Evans’ cross over the bar.

Keeper Farman tipped Aaron Collins’ rasping drive past the post as Rovers continued to be frustrated by the on-fire stopper.

But Barrow and Farman’s resistance was finally broken with eight minutes to go as Evans unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike to secure the points.

Striker Josh Gordon fired straight at Belshaw five minutes from time.

Belshaw pulled off two great stoppage-time saves to deny Banks.