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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Barrow 3-0 Robins

19 December 2020

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Cheltenham Town produced their worst performance of the season to taste defeat on a frustrating afternoon at the Progression Solicitors Stadium.

Quite simply they were second best from start to finish, failing to find a goal for the third match in succession.

True the conditions were boggy but they just couldn't find their rhythm and looked uncharacteristically disjointed, creating only one real chance of note.

It resulted in their heaviest reverse for over 18 months.

On the other hand Barrow, backed by a partisan crowd of almost 1,400 noisy supporters, were well drilled and adapted better to the occasion to secure a much deserved victory.

This was the first league meeting between the pair, and the first time that the Robins had faced a crowd on their travels since February.

Boss Michael Duff had no complaints after the match.

"We didn't turn up," he said.

"I thought they were better than us, and we got what we deserved.

"No complaints at all. It tells you everything that we made three subs at half-time to try and get a reaction and it didn't happen.

"We completely lost our discipline in the second half which is unlike us.

"For the first time this season we've been beaten by a better team."

Duff made three changes to the side that was beaten by Bolton Wanderers in injury time on Tuesday night. The midfield had a different look to it with Tom Sang and Chris Clements handed starts at the expense of Finn Azaz and Ellis Chapman. George Lloyd joined them on the bench, replaced by Andy Williams. Goalkeeper Max Harris was also named among the substitutes with Scott Flinders missing.

Barrow had lost five on the bounce coming into this one and the Robins started promisingly enough, Sang with a blocked shot and Williams missing with a header from a great position after he was found with a fine ball by Chris Hussey. That though amounted to their attacking threat for the remainder of the contest.

Moments later the home side found their stride and Josh Griffiths was forced into a pair of fine saves to prevent Tom Beadling, with a free-kick, and Scott Quigley from 12 yards.

Then Quigley wasted a great chance on the counter attack, shooting over from the edge of the box with attacking options either side of him.

But the striker made the breakthrough two minutes before the break, making no mistake from the spot after he was brought down by Liam Sercombe in the box.

It looked a harsh decision but on the balance of play it was no more than Barrow deserved.

It resulted in Duff making three changes at the break. Clements, Sang and May were all withdrawn and replaced by the players that lost their place from Tuesday's game while Reuben Reid was introduced 12 minutes later in place of Williams.

But the replacements failed to make an impression and Barrow went on to double their advantage through James, Barrow's stand out player on the day. The former Forest Green man had initially forced Griffiths into another decent stop but he quickly followed up with a brilliant chip to make it two.

Harrison Biggins added the third with 17 minutes remaining after Griffiths – who was easily Cheltenham's best player – had pulled off another fine save to deny James, but he seized the loose ball to bundle home and compound the misery.

BARROW AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; Hird, Platt, Brough; Brown, Biggins (J Taylor 84), Beadling, C Taylor, Kay (Wilson 79); Quigley (Angus 84), James. Subs not used: Lillis (Gk), Jones, Reid.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Raglan, Tozer (c); Blair, Hussey; Blair, Sang (Azaz 46), Clements (Chapman 46), Sercombe, Hussey (Freestone 78); Williams (Reid 59), May (Lloyd 46). Subs not used: Harris (Gk), Bowry.

REFEREE: M Edwards


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