THE Bluebirds continue to strive and give their all for a win at Holker Street, and yet still it will not come.

Dagenham could have had little complaint had they left South Cumbria with only a point, after two sides – one a real promotion contender, the other only recently starting to climb away from the relegation zone – cancelled each other out for most of 90 minutes.

It was a moment’s lack of concentration early in the second half that separated the teams come the end of the match.

The Barrow defence – who had been able to contain their high-flying opponents up to that point – went to sleep momentarily, allowing Corey Whitely to break into the area and put the ball on a plate at the back post for Morgan Ferrier. The Daggers striker had the easiest of tap-ins, and it would be the only goal of the game.

As they have done a lot of late, Barrow never stopped trying in their hunt for a goal, never gave it up as a lost cause, and never allowed their opponents to take complete control.

Yet they could not find a way through – though the introductions of new loan signing Lewis Walters, Grant Holt and Adi Yussuf added extra spark and gave brief hope that a goal would be coming.

AFC manager Ady Pennock continues to insist there is no extra pressure on his side when they are at home, that there is no problem with getting results at Holker Street.

Indeed, in the first game following his arrival as boss, they defeated Aldershot, and the displays since then in losing to Macclesfield, Bromley and now Dagenham have been of a higher quality than those which had preceded his appointment, when the players often looked not to be trying.

In these three losses, they have had periods of domination, and have matched up to three of the sides up there and at least in play-off contention.

Yet the bare statistics tell you they have lost all three, and the home fans will want to see the kind of results they have produced in fine away displays of late brought back to Holker Street sooner rather than later.

Nothing separated the sides on Saturday as they battled from end to end and each took control at various points.

The Daggers struck first, with Luke Howell shooting straight at Stuart Moore, before a minor mix-up between Paul Bignot and the otherwise majestic Jimmy Dunne – standing out in defence once more – forced the home keeper to dive to his left to prevent an own-goal.

Jordan White, recalled to the starting line-up following his instant impact in the win at Halifax seven days before, almost made his presence felt again as he chased through a poor back-pass and hurried keeper Mark Cousins into a clearance that bounced off the Barrow man and wide of the goal.

The Daggers had quick flurry of chances midway through the half as Whitely forced a save from Moore with a rasping effort heading for the top corner from a narrow angle, before the resulting corner ended in a succession of shots amid a scramble, with three cleared off the line. Harry Panayiotou dipped a shot over the bar from 20 yards, but it would not have counted as referee Paul Marsden had blown for a hard foul, as he was wont to do throughout the afternoon.

A curling Bedsente Gomis effort came from a similar distance not long after, but Cousins was able to gather easily, while the Dagenham number one was not troubled by two Asa Hall long-rangers, one low and wide, the other high and not-so-handsome.

There was a better opportunity nearer to the break as White delivered a fine cross from the right that met the head of Gomis and went wide of the near post. Calls for what appeared to be an obvious corner were waved away.

White had an early half-chance in the second half, as Bradley Bauress controlled a through ball well on the 18-yard line and played inside to the striker, but he became tangled and his effort went wide of goal.

A minute later, Dagenham went ahead through Ferrier’s simple finish and Barrow had to look for other options.

On came Walters, followed by Holt and then Yussuf, and there seemed to be something extra about the hosts.

Holt had a definite presence and worked his way down the right to deliver one top-drawer save, while Walters produced his advertised pace, even if it took too long for the ball to reach him so he could display it on occasion.

The guts of the home side were matched by the guile of the visitors, and saw Ferrier shoot over on the turn, and Whiteley shoot first wide and then force a save from Moore at his near post. Into the final five minutes, the Bluebirds came back again, with Hall directing a header at the back post just off target and Holt showing his experience as he controlled the ball and shot from 18 yards, but Cousins was down low to save close to his body.

They kept on trying deep into injury-time, but the equaliser would not come.

As a result of the defeat, Barrow have dropped back to 19th, a point behind Eastleigh. But such matters seem trivial as it is hard to imagine this is a side destined for relegation.

It is a rare sight that away form carries a team up the table, but that is the case at present with AFC. Surely, though, it cannot be long before the results start to come on their own patch as well.


Barrow AFC: Stuart Moore 6, Paul Bignot 7, Calum Macdonald 7, Jimmy Dunne 8 , Moussa Diarra 7, Harry Panayiotou 6 (Lewis Walters 62), Asa Hall 6, Bedsente Gomis 6, Jordan White 6 (Grant Holt 65), Byron Harrison 6 (Adi Yussuf 78), Bradley Bauress 7.

Substitutes Not Used: Joe Dixon, Tony Diagne.

Yellow Cards: Dunne (53).

Dagenham and Redbridge: Mark Cousins, Scott Doe, Craig Robson, Luke Howell, Morgan Ferrier (Chike Kandi 80), Andre Bouchard, Kevin Lokko, Sam Ling, Michael Cheek (Mason Bloomfield 69), Corey Whiteley, Jake Howells.

Substitutes Not Used: Lewis Moore, Charlee Adams, Dan Sparkes.

Referee: Paul Marsden.

Attendance: 917 (40 from Dagenham).

Star Man: Jimmy Dunne – The most commanding presence on the field once again. Had the Daggers in his pocket for much of the afternoon.