BARROW 1 BOSTON UNITED 0: Controversial late penalty hands Barrow the points as keeper Dixon shines

Dennis Greene.
Dennis Greene.

Dennis Greene slammed a controversial penalty decision which saw Barrow claim all three points in stoppage time.

Boston United looked set to end Barrow’s 100 per cent record at Holker Street as the two sides were level going into time added on.

But then a bizarre decision from referee Shaun Hudson handed the hosts an early Christmas present.

As United’s Carl Piergianni and the Bluebirds’ Andy Cook battled for a ball in the penalty area the Pilgrims defender appeared to have won possession fairly with a run-of-the-mill shoulder charge.

But Hudson pointed to the penalty spot, much to the surprise of the home support and players - none of whom seemed to appeal for a spot kick.

“At 90 minutes at 0-0 we look ok for a great away point and then the referee gives a penalty which is never a penalty,” Greene fumed.

“It’s just embarrassing.

“It’s just a coming together, the fellow’s gone round and the ref’s given a penalty.”

United made two changes to the side which was beaten 2-0 by North Ferriby in the FA Trophy on Tuesday.

Zak Mills didn’t make the trek to Cumbria due to illness, while Mark Jones - who has been playing despite a niggling calf injury - dropped to the bench.

In came leading scorer Dayle Southwell and winger Jamie McGhee.

Scott Garner dropped back to rejoin Carl Piergianni in the heart of defence, with McGhee moving out to the left and Greg Tempest joining Kyle Dixon in central midfield.

Barrow may well have won all nine of their Vanarama North matches at Holker Street prior to kick off, but it was the Pilgrims who carved out the first chances of the day.

Firstly, Southwell headed onto the woodwork following a Boston corner, before Marc Newsham dragged his left-footed effort wide after latching onto McGhee’s square ball.

Barrow’s first chance fell to striker Jason Walker, but on the turn he fired wide of the mark after being allowed to control in the penalty area.

Boston bounced back and Southwell conjured up another shooting opportunity after cutting in from the left wing.

However, with the goal in his sights he pulled his effort wide of Tony McMillan’s near post.

Barrow began to dominate proceedings and after a series of testing balls into the Boston box were repelled, Joel Dixon was called upon to pull off two top saves from long-range strikes.

He forced Johnny Gorman’s effort away from danger before pulling off an even better save to deny Dan Pilkington’s blockbuster with a one-handed stop.

The on-loan Sunderland keeper then had to react quickly again to scoop away Gorman’s deflected cross, which looks set to nestle in the net.

And when Gorman stole a yard on Rene Steer 20 yards from goal, Dixon was on hand yet again, this time palming the low strike around his post.

United reminded the hosts they were still in the contest as half time approached.

McGhee teed up Greg Tempest down the left flank before bursting into the box to get on the end of the incoming cross, only for his effort to fall wide.

But it was that man Dixon - who else - who had the final say of the half.

Andy Cook’s acrobatic volley looked destined for the bottom right-hand corner, but the keeper somehow got down well to again tip away the danger.

Dixon was in the thick of it after the interval as he got down to smother Gorman’s low strike.

Southwell came within a whisker of putting United in front when he latched on toa low pass from McGhee, who did well to sprint beyond his man down the wing, but the striker couldn’t get enough purchase on the ball to guide it goalwards.

And the away side went even closer when Tempest’s 25-yard rocker beat McMillan but smashed against the crossbar before rebounding back into play.

On the other flank Liam Marrs’ refusal to give up the ghost saw hiom win possession and play the ball into the path of Kyle Dixon.

But after taking a touch he lashed wildly at the ball, which swerved wide.

Walker tried his luck for the Bluebirds once more. But yet again Dixon was in the right place to claim the ball and deny his headed effort.

Gorman was next up to be frustrated by the Pilgrims number one , his dipping free kick expertly forced over the bal.

Barrow sub James Ellison announced himself to the game by heading wide of the Boston goal, while Tempest’s looping effort at the opposite end also failed to find it’s intended spot.

As the game approached stoppage time Ellison again got to the ball first but again forced his header wide.

And with 53 seconds of normal time left Dixon was finally beaten, only for Izak Reid’s powerful strike to hit the post and bounce away from danger.

But Barrow snatched victory and made it 10 wins from 10 in time added on when referee Hudson changed the game with the strangest of decisions.

Cook and Piergianni went shoulder to shoulder in the box and, as the Bluebird forward went down, the official inexplicably pointed to the spot.

From 12 yards out Cook made no mistake, powering beyond Dixon.

BARROW: McMillan, Burns, McWilliams, Lacey, Livesey, Grand, Gorman (Ellison 77), Harvey, Walker (Sheridan 85), Cook, Pilkington (Reid 67); Subs (not used): Cowperthwaite, Willis.

UNITED: J. Dixon, Marrs, Steer, K. Dixon, Garner, Piergianni, Felix, Tempest, Newsham (Jones 58) Southwell (Thomas 85), McGhee (Hollingsworth 81); Subs (not used): Marshall, Vince.

Ref: Shaun Hudson.

Att: 1,413 (80).