Hayes and Yeading United signed off their season in the Cumbrian sunshine, but it was the strong wind that affected this game which Barrow won to ensure their survival in the Blue Square Bet Premier for next season.
The home side were very quick to threaten Lee Harrison's goal, 52 seconds in fact, as the ball spilled out of a challlenge involving Adam Bygrave and Paul Rutherford and rolled into Paul Smith shot from outside the area firmly, only for the keeper to perform the first of his many saves of the early evening. Wayne Curtis hit the rebound on the volley, but well over.
United responded with two quickfire chances, either of which ought to have been taken. Sam Rents linked with Peter Holmes in midfield and his sliderule pass put Ben Wright through on goal, but the recalled forward dragged his shot across goal. Minutes later, Wright won a tackle in midfield to dispossess Darren Sheridan and Holmes took over firing just wide with only former United keeper Clark Masters to beat.
Despite these clearcut chances, it was Barrow who set the pace for much of the rest of the match and the visitors had Harrison to thank for a string of fine saves. He parried James Owen's shot from the edge of the area after Smith's square pass and then Rutherford fired over after more good work on the left flank from Smith.
Harrison then atoned for his own loose distribution as his wayward throw was retrieved by Sheridan who played the ball into Smith's path and his shot was deflected by Tom Cadmore, making it easier for Harrison to collect. Soon afterwards, Sheridan's deep corner was met by Simon Spender's header and Cadmore was able to block. However, Spender retrieved the ball and sent it back across for Curtis, who flashed his header just wide of the far post.
Towards the end of the half, another Sheridan corner was met by Owen's looping header which came back off the bar. This led to quite a scramble which Lewis Ferrell eventually put a stop to by clearing the ball off the goal line.
Barrow's first half endeavour was rewarded early in the second half as they opened the scoring. Richie Baker intercepted a looping header back from Jamie Hand towards Bygrave and with momentum in his favour he was able to break throguh the defensive line and tap the ball past Harrison from close range.
United had a rare moment in the home side's penalty area as Wright's overhead kick beat Masters but not Spender who had retreated towards his goal line to head clear. However, Barrow were in a more clinical mood in the second half and added another soon afterwards, Paul Edwards centring the ball for Curtis and although his shot was blocked by Bygrave, Baker was on hand to tap in a simple rebound.
Two of United's substitutes provided the visitors' next chance as Andy Yiadom found Rents in space on the left and his low centre was met by Elliott Buchanan at the near post. The forward had a difficult angle, but still almost squeezed the ball in between Masters and the near post.
But it was the home side who looked more likely to add to the scoring and they would've done if Harrison hadn't been on top form to deny them, and if Bygrave hadn't positioned himself cleverly on the line to prevent Smith's close range header from crossing it. Harrison performed fine saves from Rutherford, tipping over his angled shot after a one two with Spender on the right wing, as well as Andy Cook, whose header he pushed away from goal from point blank range and Owen, whose long shot he dived to tip wide of the post.
So United had to be content with the 51 points accrued and the 16th place in the league table earned, and Barrow were able to celebrate the confirmation of their renewed league status, capping a sense of relief for both clubs who had struggled against relegation for much of the season.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Lee Harrison.