Boro forced to settle for point at Barrow

Barrow 0 Stevenage Boro 0 Boro had to settle for a point against Barrow after missing a host of chances to claim their first victory of the season at Holker Street. A much improved Stevenage performance saw Mitchell Cole go close twice in the second hal

Barrow 0 Stevenage Boro 0

Boro had to settle for a point against Barrow after missing a host of chances to claim their first victory of the season at Holker Street.

A much improved Stevenage performance saw Mitchell Cole go close twice in the second half but Lawrie Wilson missed the best opportunity of the match when he scuffed a shot wide after a mistake by Barrow goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson.

Barrow vanished as an attacking force for long periods of the second half and Boro boss Graham Westley will be wondering how his side have failed to bag all three points.


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But the 41-year-old can take heart from the fact his side are still unbeaten and, if his squad can rediscover their sharpness in front of goal, then the victories will come.

The blustery conditions were certainly not conducive to free-flowing football in the early stages and it was clear that the ball was going to have to be kept on the floor to make any attacking progress.

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Chances were at a premium in the first period with both team's defences on top and it took until the 37th minute for the first real opportunity of the match to arrive and it fell to Boro.

Ronnie Henry, who had such a torrid time against Hayes & Yeading on Tuesday evening, made excellent progress down the right hand side and pulled the ball back for Cole, who looked odds on to put his right foot through the ball and give Boro the lead, but his tame effort was easily blocked by a Barrow defender.

Boro were missing the creative spark provided by Andy Drury, who was left on the bench with the midfielder still yet to fully recover from the injury that kept him out of most of Stevenage's pre-season campaign.

Without the former Lewes man's eye for a pass, Boro were reverting to several long balls in the direction of Charlie Griffin but the wind was making accuracy difficult.

Barrow midfielder Carlos Logan had a decent site of goal just before the break when he was inexplicably left unmarked at the back post but his effort went harmlessly wide.

Boro showed a lot more enterprise at the start of the second period and a moment of inspiration from Jon Ashton carved out an opportunity for Darren Murphy.

Ashton collected the ball on the right hand side and the burly defender jinked past the full back before delivering a cross for Murphy, but the Irishman just couldn't quite grow enough and headed just over the bar.

Boro were turning the screw and Cole had two excellent chances within a minute to give his side the lead. Wilson teed up the 23-year-old in the 54th minute but once again it was on his less favoured right foot and his effort went wide.

However, less than 60 seconds later only an excellent save from Tomlinson kept the scores level. Wilson was once again the architect down the right flank and, when he found Cole, the striker had time to get the ball on his left foot and his drilled effort was palmed away by the Bluebirds' shot-stopper.

Tomlinson had a moment to forget though just after the hour mark when he flapped at a Cole cross with the ball falling to Wilson who, with the goal gaping, dragged his shot wide.

The travelling Boro contingent were growing more and more concerned that these chances were going to come back to haunt Westley's men.

Logan almost made Stevenage pay for their wastefulness in front of goal when Laird allowed Paul Rutherford to float a cross in from the right and the former Manchester City trainee's header skimmed the crossbar.

Peter Vincenti's introduction almost paid immediate dividends when he latched on to Andy Drury's pass but the ex-Millwall man sliced his left-footed shot wide.

Barrow (4-4-2): Tomlinson, Spender, Jones, Bolland, Newton, Rutherford, Hulbert, Bond, Boyd, Logan, Walker. Subs: Deasy, Green, Pearson, Dugdale, Taylor.

Boro (4-4-2): Bayes, Henry, Roberts, Ashton, Laird, Wilson, Murphy (Byrom 89), Bostwick, Bridges (Vincenti 75), Wilson, Griffin (Drury 60), Cole. Subs not used: Rayner, Boylan.

Attendance: 1,254

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