Barrow 1-2 FC Halifax Town

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Ben Tomlinson marked his return from injury with the winning goal as FC Halifax Town beat Barrow 2-1 in the FA Trophy.

Town skipper Matty Brown had scored at both ends to seemingly set-up a replay on Tuesday, but Tomlinson came off the bench to mark his first appearance for three-and-a-half months with the decisive goal two minutes from time.

The road to Wembley is literally and metaphorically a long way from the bleak mid-winter in Barrow, but The Shaymen beat the horrendous conditions as well as a plucky Barrow side to go through to round two.

New signing James Ferry made his full debut in place of the suspended Josh Staunton, while Sanmi Odelusi replaced Matty Kosylo.

The wet and blustery conditions played havoc with any high balls, and put paid to Barrow boss Ian Evatt’s umbrella after less than 10 minutes.

The awful weather, meant the quality of the game was never going to be top-notch, with surface water kicking up off the turf and the gusty winds making passing uncertain and control of the ball unpredictable.

Ryan Sellers had a low drive tipped behind by Andrew Firth within the opening two minutes, but that proved a false dawn for the contest, which was scrappy and peppered with loose balls and possession changing hands regularly.

Town had the strong wind in their favour in the first-half, but seemed to adapt better to the conditions, producing the more productive football.

Mekhi McLeod saw a couple off shots from range go off target before Dayle Southwell’s ambitious effort with a free-kick from 45 yards was gathered at the second attempt by Firth and Jordan Preston’s shot on the turn near the edge of the six-yard box flashed wide.

Town’s pressure was building as half-time approached, and after Firth reacted quickly to turn behind Preston’s cross-shot, Brown headed in the resulting corner to hand them a deserved lead, as Barrow conceded for the first time in more than seven hours of football.

Barrow nearly responded immediately but Luke Burgess’ header was just wide from Connor Brown’s right-wing cross.

Other than that, the hosts had offered almost nothing - the odd bit of decent build-up play but no cutting edge - with Town’s back four standing firm and giving little away; the weather was porous but Halifax’s defence wasn’t.

It was difficult for Ferry to make much of an impression in a largely scrappy, disjointed game, but he looked tidy on the ball and not afraid to get stuck into a tackle.

Josh Kay had a shot deflected wide from inside the Town box shortly after the restart, but Barrow, who now had the wind in their favour, were reluctant to cross the ball when in good positions out wide, and when they did, the crosses lacked quality.

John Rooney took the more direct route with a one shot from range that whistled wide, and another that Sam Johnson shovelled away.

Johnson continued to mainly be a spectator as Barrow struggled to create chances, but watching on was all the Town keeper could do when Lee Molyneux’s delightful angled chip from the edge of the box soared over the stopper and hit the bar.

The momentum swung Barrow’s way though when Brown - presumably trying to nod the ball back to his keeper or out for a corner - inexplicably headed into his own net after Johnson had parried a shot into the air.

The turnaround was nearly completed a minute later when Jacob Blyth’s header across goal was tipped behind by Johnson, who was a spectator no more.

The game had come to life now. Barrow were playing with much more urgency, and Town were trying to respond to the hosts’ equaliser.

Southwell’s drilled free-kick crashed narrowly wide from 30 yards before Blyth’s dinked shot looped over Johnson but came back off the post.

Substitute Jack Barthram then hit the post with a shot across goal as The Shaymen started to hang on.

But Tomlinson got the final touch to divert fellow sub Jonathan Edwards’ shot past Firth and break Barrow hearts.

Barrow: Firth, Brown (Barthram 58), Elsdon, Wilson, Molyneux, Jones, Rooney, Kay, Burgess (Agustien 71), Blyth, Turner (Hindle 66). Subs not used: Sloan, Jameson.

Scorer: Brown (og 78)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 7

Halifax: Johnson, Hanson (Duckworth 46), Clarke, Brown, Sellers, Ferry, Maher, Odelusi (Tomlinson 52), Preston, McLeod (Edwards 78), Southwell. Subs not used: Rowley.

Scorers: Brown (39), Tomlinson (88)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 6

Attendance: 578

Referee: Andrew Miller

Town man of the match: Nathan Clarke