Barrow 0 Sutton United 0
A game that for the most part was as grim as the weather ended in the scoreline that had looked likely from some time before the final whistle, but Sutton were pleased to come away from the SO Legal Stadium with a battling point that moved U's to within a point of the play-offs. Both sides deserved credit for their efforts on an afternoon that was cold and increasingly wet, but the statistic of only one shot on target in the entire game was a fair reflection of a game where both defences came out on top.
That on target effort came inside the first ten minutes, as Barrow attacked quickly down the left after a Sutton move had broken down, although David Ajiboye's claim that he had been fouled seemed a valid one, and Ben Whitfield and Jake Young combined before Young's low shot was pushed just beyond the far post by Jack Rose. From the resulting corner George Ray looped a shot just wide, and that was as close as either side came in the first half. Young sent in another shot just before half time that Rose pushed away, although it might have been going wide anyway, while Sutton's only sights of goal were for Ajiboye and Ali Smith, who both shot high and wide from the edge of the penalty area, although one promising counter attack broke down as Enzio Boldewijn's touch deserted him when a pass to Ajiboye would have left the winger clear.
The second half was more open, but again there was little end product for either side and neither goalkeeper was called in to serious action. Whitfield was a constant threat, and it was a surprise when he was taken off with twenty minutes to go, just afte a cross from the right had passed across the face of U's goal with no Barrow striker anticipating the ball in. For U's Craig Eastmond made himself some space inside the penalty area but blasted his shot over the bar, and Sam Hart tried his luck from distance and saw his effort deflected just wide with Paul Farman scrambling to his left.
Both sides made changes as the half progressed in an effort to find a breakthrough, but apart from a Ged Garner cross that just evaded Rose's far post there was no more threat from Barrow, and Sutton again failed to make the most of some counter attacks, Boldewijn and substitute Will Randall both overhitting crosses with the wind behind them. It was becoming obvious that it would take just one moment of inspiration, or a mistake, to settle the game but neither were forthcoming and the sides had to settle for a point each as Barrow extended their unbeaten run to five games and U's made it nine games without defeat, with both sides having conceded just once in the last five games.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 90), L Angol(sub M Dennis 65), D Ajiboye(sub W Randall 75). Subs n/u B House, H Beautyman, R Milsom, D Wilson.
Barrow: P Farman, R Feely(sub T Warren 83), P Brough, G Ray, S McClelland, N Canavan, B Whitfield(sub G Garner 71), T White, B Waters(sub J Gordon 72) H Neal (sub S Foley 71) J Young (sub R Gotts 86). Sub n/u J Lillis, Booked: Neal
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 3,696 (61 away)
Above photo courtesy of Thomas Lee Stacey/Barrow FC