A glorious Lake District autumn afternoon welcomed United to Holker Street as we looked to add to our tally of five points from the previous three away games. However, it was Barrow striker Andy Cook who stole the show with a hat-trick for the home side as the Cumbrians took the points.
Tom Collins’ brace against Forest Green on Tuesday evening saw him in the starting line up in place of the injured Richard Pacquette, while Diak John returned to the left back slot.
United were up against it within a minute. Gavin Skelton picked the ball up on the left, and with United ‘keeper Steve Arnold coming out too early to deal with the cross, Andy Cook’s weak header had enough on it to bounce limply into the unguarded net, despite John’s last ditch attempts to clear.
United’s first attempts on goal came from Pierre Joseph-Dubois. On twelve minutes, he forced Danny Hurst to save down low to his left, and six minutes later following United’s first corner, his header saw Paul Smith desperately scrambling the ball clear before it could trickle in at the post.
Jack Mackreth caused problems down the Barrow right flank all afternoon, and he could have doubled the hosts lead on twenty-seven minutes. Cutting into the penalty area unchallenged, he sent the ball across the face of Arnold’s goal. A touch by any incoming forward would have comfortably converted the chance, but thankfully the ball fizzed out of play. Two minutes later Dominic Rowe fired in an effort that went just over the bar.
Cook doubled his score for the afternoon in the thirty-second minute. Latching on to a sharp ball out of defence, he found the space between Curtis Ujah and Diak John, and accelerated away from them before smashing home past the unprotected Arnold from the edge of the United area. The home side were comfortably in control, turning around 2-0 ahead at the break.
Having conceded in the opening minute of the first half, the last thing United needed was to give away another goal early on in the second, yet that is exactly what happened within three minutes of the re-start. Ujah’s back pass was too short and took enough of a bounce to allow the alert Cook to nod the ball over the advancing Arnold, leaving United 3-0 down on forty-eight minutes.
United were handed an unexpected lifeline ten minutes later, as referee Clark blew for a penalty, later confirmed as being awarded against Paul Smith for holding Joseph-Dubois. Soares comfortably put the spot kick into the corner to give United a glimmer of hope. However, the home side were not to relinquish their strong position and despite lively work throughout the rest of the game by Joseph-Dubois and Soares, there was no real cutting edge in evidence as decent approach play went begging.
If anything, the home side had the only real clear cut chance in the later stages of the game, with Richie Baker’s excellently struck injury-time free kick forcing a fine save out of Steve Arnold, and keeping the final score at 3-1.
Speaking to www.hyufc.com directly after the game, the manager bemoaned the poor starts in both halves which did most of the damage in costing United the points. “It was disappointing, we should have defended better on all three of their goals. It wasn’t so much that they created, it was more a case of lack of concentration and poor defending by ourselves. Our attacking play was excellent, we had numerous chances but our final pass or our final shot lacked quality. In any game you’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net when you get the chance and defend better than we did today. It was disappointing because today’s match was a game we could have got something out of, and I feel like we’ve thrown away three points. We created enough chances to have got something out of the game”.
Report by Lee Hermitage.
United Man of the Match: Pierre Joseph-Dubois.