Chesterfield 2 Barrow AFC 2

Barrow AFC’s trend of letting leads slip away from home this season continued as they were held by a Chesterfield side who should have been dead and buried by half-time.

For a long time, it looked as though the Bluebirds would be picking up a first win of the campaign on the road when Brad Barry’s early contender for goal of the season was followed by Scott Quigley’s fourth in four games.

Two goals up after 24 minutes, AFC then had several other clear opportunities to kill the game off with plenty to spare and their profligacy, not for the first time, cost them as Mike Fondop’s late header meant a share of the spoils.

It also meant for the third away game running, Ian Evatt’s side were left kicking themselves at the final whistle, as what was a very good performance at the Proact Stadium didn’t get a full reward.

Barrow named an unchanged started line-up from last week’s win against Yeovil, although their bench was boosted by the return of Patrick Brough, Josh Kay and Byron Harrison from injury.

The Bluebirds had the game’s first chance after five minutes when a poor clearance went straight to Lewis Hardcastle, whose placed effort from the edge of the area was pushed away by Chesterfield ‘keeper Shwan Jalal.

The hosts then had a clear opportunity themselves which Liam Mandeville spurned when he blazed wide from not too far out, following Jermaine McGlashan’s cut-back.

Quigley really should have kept up his goalscoring run in the 15th minute as Jay Sheridan’s back pass was picked off by the AFC forward, who shot into the side netting when through on goal.

But a good start from the visitors was rewarded by an absolutely stunning strike from one of their returning former Spireites.

The ball was cleared as far as Barry, who from almost 30 yards out lashed in an unstoppable strike that even his old supporters couldn’t help but applaud.

The lead was then doubled after 25 minutes when Oliver Greaves drove a low corner to the unmarked Quigley, who made no mistake this time by drilling a first-time effort past Jalal.

It should have been 3-0 in the 34th minute, when John Rooney, allowed so much time on the ball, slid a lovely pass through for Dior Angus, whose shot looped off Jalal and dropped on to the bar.

The Bluebirds continued to press for a third and would have had one but for a terrific save from Jalal, who finger-tipped Olly Dyson’s placed shot around the far post.

Another great opportunity to kill the game off before half-time was then passed up in first-half injury time when Hardcastle’s shot was cleared off the line by Anthony Gerrard.

Chesterfield then went straight down the other end and won a penalty when Connor Brown clumsily bundled over McGlashan and Scott Boden sent Joel Dixon the wrong way to give the hosts a route back into the game they didn’t really deserve.

AFC were again wasteful ten minutes into the second half when Hardcastle sent Dyson in the clear down the left, but after galloping into the area, the teenager shot wide of the near post.

The first scare came soon after as Dixon held on to a header from Fondop, who up to that point had been getting little change out of Jason Taylor and Sam Hird.

Fondop had his second good chance in the air, but couldn’t get enough on what was a dangerous cross from Josef Yarney.

However, it was third time lucky for the Chesterfield striker, who headed another good ball by Buchanan into the bottom corner to level the match with ten minutes to go.

Barrow then had a massive let-off in the 84th minute when Fondop played the ball through for McGlashan, who rounded Dixon before handling the ball in going to ground under pressure from Brown.

This time the referee didn’t point to the spot and a point was what AFC had to settle for from a match they should have picked up all three.

Chesterfield (4-4-2): Jalal, Evans, Gerrard (Yarney 52), Hollis, Sheridan (Smith 45), McGlashan, Weir (Rowley 68), Buchanan, Mandeville, Fondop, Boden.

Subs not used: Coddington, McKay.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon, Barry, Hird, Taylor, Brown, Rooney, Hardcastle, Greaves, Angus (Hindle 74), Quigley (Harrison 80), Dyson (Kay 65).

Subs not used: Brough, Granite.

Referee: Lewis Smith

Attendance: 3,812 (167 away)

Bluebirds star man: Brad Barry