Aldershot Town 1 Barrow AFC 2

Joel Dixon’s penalty save in fourth minute of stoppage time ensured Barrow AFC finally earned their first away win of the season at Aldershot Town after a nerve-shredding finish at the Recreation Ground.

The Bluebirds had thrown away winning positions in their previous four matches on their travels and it looked like biggest gift of all was about to take place in Hampshire.

Two goals up with ten minutes left, AFC started looking panicky in defending their lead, having barely been threatened before that point.

But Dixon prevented yet more points being infuriatingly dropped by keeping out Connor Shields’ spot kick and prevent the Shots from snatching a point that even their own fans will admit they wouldn’t have deserved.

It remains to be seen whether a win at Aldershot will prove to be the turning point it was last season, but nonetheless this is a monkey off AFC’s back that had been growing larger by the week.

There was just one personnel change to the line-up that lost against Hartlepool on Tuesday night, as Dior Angus came in for Hardcastle, but there was a change of shape as manager Ian Evatt implemented a 3-4-1-2 formation.

The Bluebirds survived an early scare when Lewis Kinsella’s teasing cross from the left ran through to Shields, who couldn’t direct his header at the back post.

John Rooney had Barrow’s first effort after 12 minutes when his free kick from just under 30 yards sailed harmlessly over the bar, before the visitors had an opening goal controversially ruled out.

A good ball over the top gave Olly Dyson half a chance, he was challenged with the ball running through for Josh Kay, who stretched to score into an empty net.

However, while the AFC players were off celebrating, the referee and linesman consulted, with the latter belatedly raising his flag to chalk off the effort, as the ball had come off Dyson and run to the offside Kay.

Just when it looked as though we’d go into half-time with the scoreline blank, the visitors had a change of luck that ensured they did take the lead after all.

Another free kick from Rooney took a deflection that took the ball out of the reach of Aldershot goalkeeper Mitch Walker and into the bottom corner.

It kept up Barrow’s record of leading at the break in every away game this season, although those in the away end who had made the long journey would have been all too aware of what had happened before.

Angus stung the palms of Walker with less than a minute of the second half played – this time there was no repeat of the sloppy starts the Bluebirds have often made after the restart on their travels.

There was then another chance for Angus, which he scuffed across goal and wide, as the wait for a goal continued for the former Port Vale man, who was subbed off for Jack Hindle after 63 minutes.

The second goal eventually arrived in the 68th minute and there was no denying Kay this time, as he took advantage of an awful mix-up that saw Max Hunt take Sam Hird’s long ball away from Walker, sliding into an open net.

Aldershot almost pulled one back quickly when Robbie Tinkler sent in a terrific low ball from the right that Ethan Chislett couldn’t get on the end of at the back post.

However, the youngster made no mistake from Shields’ cut-back, following Sam Hird’s error, meaning nerves in the travelling contingent of 68 were sent jangling again with nine minutes left.

Hearts were certainly in mouths when Dean Rance was found free in the box by Alefe Santos’ corner, but the midfielder headed a fantastic chance to equalise over.

An even better one then followed deep into added time when Jack Hindle was judged to have bundled over Santos in the area, only for Dixon to be the hero, as he dived to his left to keep out Shields’ penalty.

Aldershot Town (4-2-3-1): Walker, Tinkler, Lyons-Foster, Fowler, Kinsella, Rance, Whittingham (Santos 65), Shields, Chislett, Eyoma (Hunt 45), Mullings (Fletcher 66).

Subs not used: Kudyiwa, Wylie.

Barrow AFC (3-4-1-2): Dixon, Hird, Platt, Brough, Barry, Rooney, Taylor, Kay, Dyson (Hardcastle 74), Angus (Hindle 63), Harrison.

Subs not used: Granite, Waddington, Penfold.

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: 1,633 (68 away)

Bluebirds star man: Matt Platt