BARROW got back to winning ways with a hard-fought victory over the Bulldogs in a game that could have gone either way.

In the absence of the suspended Ryan Johnston, Paul Crarey moved Matty Costello from the centre position to half-back with Aaron Smith, Max Clarke, Kavan Rothwell and Shane Toal all back from injury.

The Bulldogs attacked from the kick-off, and with three minutes on the clock were denied when Joshua Woods and Elliott Kear paved the way for Kieran Buchanan to cross the home line, only for the centre to lose the ball in the process.

A counter-attack saw Barrow take the lead, it was on the last tackle that Brad Walker stabbed the ball to the visitors line, full-back Robbie Butterworth gathered and trying to clear his line lost possession, and in like a flash was Luke Creswell on his birthday to dot the ball down for Ryan Shaw to convert 6-0.

However, disaster struck two minutes later. Shaw took a high ball from Woods, but from the play the ball, Matty Costello had a rush of blood and sent the ball into the arms of Dale Morton who crossed the whitewash with ease. Woods added the conversion 6-6.

Costello the sinner turned the Saint when a high ball from Walker saw Costello snatch the ball in mid-air as Buttterworth was about to gather, to cross the line. Shaw tagged on the goal 12-6.

Again Barrow lost possession when Broadbent threw out a poor ball to Max Clarke, the ball was then in the hands of Batley who worked their way to the posts for old head Adam Gledhill to dummy his way over from close range. Woods added the goal 12-12.

Barrow were playing better rugby with Tom Wilkinson a driving force in attack, while full-back Creswell and Bullman constantly smothered the high balls from Woods.

Aaron Smith replaced Wood and soon made his mark with a crunching tackle on Kear who was threatening the home line.

With half-time approaching the Bulldogs went ahead for the first time when Barrow were penalised for dumping in the tackle.

Woods choose to go for goal and was on target to close the half at 12-14.

The second half was nip and tuck with Woods bringing in his forwards to test the home defence.

Barrow survived and went upfield through a strong drive from Burke, which resulted in Rothwell being held short of the visitors’ line.

On 50 minutes, the lead was back in the hands of Barrow when on the last tackle, Walker put in a neat kick through the cover and dotting the ball down was James Greenwood. The kick from Shaw making it 18-14.

Shaw was almost on the scoreboard minutes later when a high ball from Walker was fumbled. Shaw gathered and was going in at the corner only to be called back for being offside from the kick.

Batley plugged away, but finding a way through was proving difficult.

Again Barrow were breaking through the middle more than the Bulldogs with Costello prising open a gap to race clear, but his intended pass to Broadbent was not perfect and the latter failed to gather cleanly.

Gledhill and Woods were always a threat for the Bulldogs, but Barrow's defence was up to the task.

Costello was in support from a darting run from Wood, but just failed to gather cleanly as the line beckoned.

The Bulldogs attacked constantly, but were unable to breach the Barrow defence and when an attack broke down the hosts increased their lead.

Kear trying to break through lost the ball in the tackle on halfway, Barrow went upfield and Wood was the provider for the returning Ramon Silva to force his way over despite three would-be defenders hanging on grimly. Shaw added the goal 24-14.

Ten minutes remained for Barrow to keep their line intact and despite 14 successive attacks with ball in hand, the visitors found the way through impossible as the home side kept a clean sheet in the final 40 minutes.

No games next weekend with the Challenge Cup ties taking place, while the following week it's a trip across the Channel to face Toulouse.

Barrow: Creswell, Bulman, Toal, Broadbent, Shaw, Walker, Costello, Gillam, Wood, Silva, Clarke, Greenwood, Wilkinson: Subs used: Smith, Rothwell, Burke, Carter. Mail Man of the Match Tom Wilkinson. Attendance: 1,976.