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Barrow Slump To Defeat

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AFC's Valentine's Day date with the Moors was going rather swimmingly in the first half.

But that all changed when deadly Solihull striker Omar Bogle started to drown their chances of strengthening their position at the Conference North summit.

Without hitting top gear, Barrow were the superior side until a sweetheart of the Holker Street terraces, Jason Walker, earned a penalty and then converted from 12 yards to hand his side a deserved lead.

But Bogle plunged a dagger into the Bluebirds' heart by hitting a double before the break.

The England C international had pretty much kept out of the way by operating on the left – a clever tactic imposed by Moors manager Marcus Bignot – before bursting into life by emulating Walker's spot-kick feat and then slotting a shot home.

In doing so, he comfortably won his duel with Barrow forward Andy Cook, who sat alongside Bogle at the top of the division's scoring chart with 19 goals ahead of kick off. As for Cook, he cut a frustrated figure – like a loved-up youngster stood up on prom night – as he endured a rare afternoon to forget.

Soon after Bogle equalised, Cook's afternoon was summed up when he missed a gilt-edged chance to put Barrow back in front by displaying an uncharacteristic lack of composure in front of goal.

The hosts made a positive start to the second period, but Solihull were typically determined and organised in their approach as AFC's own comeback bid fell flat and their attacking threat fizzled out.

Ex-Aston Villa attacker Stefan Moore – who was playing through the middle and helping to keep Barrow eyes off Bogle – sealed an eighth away league win of the campaign for a side that had lost six of their seven previous matches.

Meanwhile, league leaders Barrow slumped to only their second home league loss, which ended their six-game unbeaten run.

Boss Darren Edmondson named an unchanged side following Barrow's 1-1 draw at Tamworth. A lively start to proceedings saw loan winger Andy Haworth unleash 20-yard drive which was kept out by a one-handed save from Moors keeper Tony Breeden on three minutes, before Rob Elvins headed wide from close range.

The swaggering Breeden then collected Walker's glancing header, while AFC keeper Aaran Taylor gathered a 20-yarder from Bogle who was put under pressure by Paddy Lacey.

Barrow continued to attack with intent with Walker's poor 25-yard free kick going off target. A decent chance arrived on 15 minutes when Haworth fed Cook whose powerful angled strike was repelled by the busy Breeden who also comfortably kept out Karl Ledsham's ambitious 16-yard header.

Barrow made the breakthrough on 25 minutes after Walker was hauled down in the box by Jordan Gough. Walker subsequently smashed his spot kick into the centre of the net to chalk up his 14th goal of the season.

Barrow's failure to capitalise on a few good openings before the break went some way to sealing their fate. One of those opportunities arrived on the half-hour mark. Walker played in Ledsham in the right channel and, with Cook waiting in the middle for what would have been a tap-in, the midfielder's square pass was intercepted by Breeden.

Moore headed the ball straight at Taylor and Lewis Guy charged down Breeden's clearance, but sent the ball away from goal.

Bogle came to the fore on 35 minutes as he drew a foul from AFC skipper Simon Grand who brought down the hit-man in the area. Bogle confidently swept his penalty into the corner to level matters.

Taylor was called upon to beat away Bogle's angled drive.

And Cook badly fluffed his lines on 38 minutes when he burst clear by racing on to Michael Nottingham's misjudged header, before slamming the ball the wrong side of the left-hand post.

Bogle punished Cook and AFC on 41 minutes. The ball was fed into Bogle by Ryan Beswick and he guided an edge-of-the-box strike – which appeared to take a slight deflection –into the right-hand hand corner.

Moore volleyed over after the re-start, before Walker's tame long-range effort never seriously threatened the visitors' goal.

AFC were back on top with Walker, Guy and Haworth spurning half chances. But the game levelled out again as Solihull dug in, with Liam Daly meeting Beswick's free kick and heading just wide on 65 minutes.

Moore sealed the three points for Moors on 76 minutes. Beswick sent the striker through on goal and Moore made no mistake in calmly guiding the ball past Taylor.

The game was up for Barrow. In the latter stages, Solihull duo Junior English and Darryl Knights, plus Lacey and substitute Marcus Carver produced efforts without success.

This was a Valentine's Day to forget for Barrow.

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