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Barrow 0-1 Kingstonian

This being Barrow's first game since their winding up order, it was always going to be a strange occasion. And so it proved as K's finally managed to record a win in the Conference against a team lower than themselves in the table. Steve Farrelly was returning to his former employers, and received a fairly hostile reception, whilst Barrow's team included several un-knows who have been signed in the last few desperate days.

About half an hour before kick-off, there seemed to be no problems at all at Holker Street, but the fog then started to descend and, by the time the teams emerged from the tunnel, it was becoming increasingly difficult to see the other end of the pitch. But that was probably of more interest to the fans than the players, and the game started brightly, although Barrow were doing their best to blend in with the fog in their off-white kit.. K's had their by now familiar first team on show, and they seemed determined to prove that Chapple had been wrong to say they lacked self belief. And it didn't take long for K's to take the lead.

Colin Luckett sent in a corner from the right which swung in under Tony Parks' crossbar. The goalkeeper did well to punch clear under severe pressure, but could only reach the edge of the area. And that was exactly where Geoff Pitcher was waiting to pounce. The ball bounced once before he fired it back towards the goal, it took a slight deflection off David Leworthy, the net bulged and it seemed that the floodgates might just have been opened.

But just minutes later, it looked as though Barrow had the perfect chance to equalise, as Ian Foster crossed from the right with Brian Dawson rushing in to connect. With Farrelly looking worried (yes it was possible to see, even with the fog) the ball just eluded the attacker, and K's were relieved to clear. But this was the last clear chance of the half for the hosts, as K's dominated in every area. Yet, at half time, the score remained unchanged. There were chances to extend the lead - most notably when Eddie, seeking his hundredth goal, was put through by a sliding Tarkan Mustafa prod, but after rounding the keeper, he only managed to shoot into the side netting. Pitcher shot just wide after emerging from the distant gloom like a shining beacon in his bright yellow shirt with the ball, and Eddie again went close when Colin Luckett and Leworthy combined to set him up. But when the whistle sounded for half time, K's had once more failed to take advantage of their clear superiority and were just the single goal ahead.

By the time the second half started, the fog had lifted. Perhaps Barrow had been unable to see through the gloom to the stands to see the good turnout by the locals - but now that they could see, they seemed to decide to try and provide some entertainment. They harried K's constantly for the latter forty-five minutes, and created far more chances than in the first, with Dawson being at the heart of most things although it was Sandwith who went close first when he sent a free-kick buzzing past Farrelly's left-hand upright.

The referee, Mr.C.Oliver from Northumberland had been fairly anonymous up until now, but attempted to enamour himself to the travelling K's fans by playing the visitors an advantage. The facts that the transgression had been a clear elbow to the head, and that the ball had actually gone backwards and into a contentious position seemed to not to worry the official. After several moments had gone by, the ball went out of play to allow Mustafa to be treated, and for the referee to have a quiet word with the aggressor. How nice of him.

With time running out Barrow turned up the heat and started making the fans behind Parks' goal sweat. Chances were still being created by the side, mainly through exceptional work from Mustafa, Patterson and Pitcher, but then Barrow's supporters had many occasions to become excited towards the end. Doherty had two chances in quick succession: a shot after a one-two with Dawson and a free-kick which was tipped round the post for a corner. But with Barrow looking for that all important equaliser, gaps were appearing in their, up-until-now, leaky defence.

A Pitcher shot was deflected high into the night sky before landing at Leworthy's feet. With just one man between himself and the goal, the veteran decided to take him on. The defender though, was determined not to be passed, and he denied Leworthy first with a hand ball, and then by pulling his shirt. But nothing was given. Pitcher was played in by Eddie late on, his shot rolled agonisingly close to the post, but just stayed outside. And so there was more sweat. With just a one goal lead it was becoming more and more likely that the already long trip home would be extended by a few more hours (metaphorically of course).

But no - K's hung on and were able to celebrate three points. Although the dominance of the first half should have been converted to more goals, this was a battling performance. The defence did well to keep out an eager Barrow team, Farrelly played well under some pressure, and the rest of the team created many chances. Perhaps if Eddie was not on nervy-ninety-nine, more goals would have come, but in the end it didn't really matter. The team's playing well at an important stage of the season, and if they can just start finishing the chances that are made, then things certainly look bright. Just so long as the fog doesn't come back.

Sat 30th Jan 1999
Holker Street
Football Conference
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon StewartCautioned
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Kevin Rattray
10David Leworthy12
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Scott Corbett10
14Dean Thomas
15Mike Lester
Man of the Match
Tarkan Mustafa
Tarkan Mustafa
Match Report By
Gary Ekins