A BATTLING display from Barrow Raiders following a first-half red card for Jarrad Stack was not enough for the visitors to avoid falling to a 24-12 defeat away to Rochdale Hornets in this afternoon’s Betfred Championship clash.

For the second game in a row, Barrow had established 12-0 lead, with tries from Luke Cresswell and Declan Hulme plus a conversion and penalty from Brad Marwood, but the match turned when Stack was dismissed after being penalised for foul play.

The Hornets then took control after the break thanks to five unanswered tries and three conversions from Lewis Palfrey, ensuring they notched up their first league win of the season at the expense of the Raiders.

Head coach Paul Crarey made several enforced changes to his side for this match, with Marwood, Tom Loxam, Cresswell and Dan Toal all coming into the match-day squad due to Jamie Dallimore being suspended, and Glenn Riley and Brett Carter being unavailable.

Barrow could hardly have asked for a better start when a short, high kick-off from Ryan Fieldhouse led to the home side knocking on, although some stern defence from the Hornets ensured they managed to avoid conceding a score.

There was little to choose between either side for much of the opening quarter of an hour though, with both teams coming up with errors when in promising positions.

However, it was the Raiders who took the lead on 15 minutes when some patient build-up play led to Fieldhouse finding Cresswell, who in turn managed to burrow his way over out wide for an unconverted try despite close attention from two Rochdale defenders.

Barrow were in again four minutes later when Marwood passed to Stack, followed by the second row producing a superb offload inside for support runner Hulme to dash over for a try which Marwood converted.

The Raiders stand-off then added a penalty for an infringement at the play-the-ball on a repeat set for the away side in the 25th minute, but it was not long before events swung in favour of the Hornets.

Barrow were dealt a blow when try-scorer Hulme was forces off with what appeared to be an injury to his right arm, and were then reduced to 12 men when Stack was dismissed by referee Matthew Rosleigh for dangerous play following a tackle on Gary Middlehurst which saw him lifted above the horizontal and sparked a melee.

But the Raiders were able to prevent Rochdale from getting on the scoreboard before the half-time hooter sounded, with the closest they came being when Rob Massam was forced into touch just short of the try-line.

And despite being a man down, Barrow came close to scoring again soon after the restart when a repeat set on the first six led to Alec Susino being held up over the line. However, their decision making let them down on the fifth tackle and Rochdale quickly countered.

A penalty for a high tackle saw the away side cede good field position and the Hornets turned the screw to produce an attack which led to a try on 45 minutes. Tom Loxam and Shane Toal had done well to scramble and stop the rampaging Earl Hurst, but no-one could prevent half-back Palfrey sneaking through a gap for an unconverted try.

Three minutes later, the deficit was down to just two points when Rochdale got a roll on and Patrick Moran bumped his way through the defence for a converted score and by the 52nd minute, the hosts were ahead when Deon Cross went over in the corner.

Lee Mitchell then capped his 150th professional appearance with a try and the seal was put on the win in the 67th minute when Rob Massam plucked a cross-field kick from Danny Yates out of the air to dot down for a converted try.

And Barrow’s misery was compounded in the closing minutes when they were denied a consolation try from full-back Fieldhouse due to play being pulled back for a knock-on in the build-up.

Rochdale Hornets: Richard Lepori; Declan Kay, Earl Hurst, Deon Cross, Rob Massam; Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates; Joe Taira, Ben Moores, Lee Mitchell, Gary Middlehurst, David Allen, Luke Adamson. Interchange: Declan Gregory, Toby Adamson, Patrick Moran, Billy Brickhill.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Tom Loxam, Luke Cresswell; Brad Marwood, Karl Ashall; Ryan Duffy, Dean Parata, Joe Bullock, Bradd Crellin, Jarrad Stack, Martin Aspinwall. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Tom Walker, Dan Toal, Alec Susino.

Referee: Matthew Rosleigh.