Defensive frailties and a lack of attacking options have only extended Valiant hangovers as Barrow showed their incoming Manager Michael Jolley they are not a pushover despite their league position. Goals from Scott Quigley and Patrick Brough were enough to give Barrow the points and their second win in a week and leave Vale still searching for their best eleven starters.
It was quite the cagey start from both sides, but it was Vale that took a hold of the game building up high levels of possession but with very few efforts on goal. In fact, it took until the ninth minute for the first real shot in anger, a long ball finding Devante Rodney, the striker bringing the ball down and driving towards the edge of the box, shooting with his left foot, but the ball went wide of the right upright.
It was clear that Barrow has come to spoil and break up play and this was highlighted as early as the fifteenth minute as Luke James picked up a caution for failing to retreat 10 yards and delaying a free kick and Thomas Beadling followed him into the book just four minutes later after catching Scott Burgess late.
But the defensive lapses that have plagued Vale all season were back on show again on twenty-three minutes. With Vale seemingly under no pressure, a clearance was charged down in the Vale defensive third, the ball breaking to Scott Quiqley, the Striker calmly stepped in front of Nathan Smith to prevent the challenge and drove towards goal, drawing Scott Brown and calmly placing his effort under the Keeper and into the Vale goal.
Vale looked to respond, winning a couple of corners within the space of a few minutes but the delivery from Danny Whitehead was unconvincing, the second delivery bobbling into the side netting with out troubling Joel Dixon in the Barrow goal. Vale continued to knock at the door, Pope making a nuisance of himself as Smith might have done better with a header before Vale were caught offside during the scramble to clear the ball.
The visitors had their own spell of pressure on the half hour mark, first winning a free-kick wide on the right hand wing, level with the penalty area, Josh Kay putting a deep cross into the box, the heads went up, Sam Hird winning the header but it sailed wide of the Vale goal. On thirty-six, nice build play on the right side through Connor Brown found Quigley, who strode towards the edge of the box, shooting, but he’d snatched at it and it flew high into the Bycars Stand.
On forty-one, Alex Hurst continued his good work down the left earning a dangerous free-kick. Burgess sending it high to the back post, Dixon doing well to claw it away and Vale conceded the free kick trying to force a turnover of the ball.
Vale started the second half brightly and on forty-eight minutes David Amoo, fresh on the Vale right wing, took on the Barrow defence, getting his shot away, but it flashed across goal and wide of the left post.
But it was the visitors that extended their lead on fifty minutes. Lack lustre defending from a Barrow free kick allowed the ball to fall to Quigley on the edge of the Vale box, instead of taking the shot, he advanced into the right-hand channel of the box, reaching the by-line, and driving the ball across goal. Patrick Brough was the first to react poking the ball past Brown and Vale were 2-0 down with nothing to show for their efforts.
Four minutes later, Amoo did well again down the right, driving at the left back before crossing the ball. The part clearance was only diverted back to the Winger, he jinked and tried again but the Barrow defence was up to the task and cleared the danger.
On fifty-eight minutes, Vale were lucky to be still in the game, Quiqley again getting the better of the Vale defence after a couple of nice one-twos, but Brown did well, saving high to his right with a strong hand pushing the ball away from goal.
The Visitors had a further chance to secure the points on sixty-six minutes, Josh Kay really should have done better as a quick counterattack freed the left Winger, he brought the ball under control advancing at the covering defender, switching the ball to his right foot and shooting, but high in the Hamil Road End.
Despite a few changes of personnel, Vale never really looked like breaking the resolute Barrow defence and one suspects supporters and reporters alike were glad to hear the final whistle, condemning Vale to their tenth defeat of the season.