15 March 2022

Mark Cooper welcomes win over sorry Scunthorpe in Barrow’s battle against drop

15 March 2022

Boss Mark Cooper welcomed a big three points in Barrow’s battle for League Two survival as John Rooney’s 44th-minute goal was enough to defeat bottom-of-the-table Scunthorpe.

But he was disappointed that the Bluebirds were not more convincing winners against an Iron side reduced to 10 men after 22 minutes as a result of midfielder Anthony Grant’s late challenge on Josh Gordon.

The visitors also finished the night a man down when Tom Beadling was booked for a second time as the game entered stoppage time, but it came too late to affect their dominance.

“It was a good performance, but you can’t miss the chances that we did,” Cooper said.

“By 60 minutes it should have been game won, comfortably, which would have allowed us to save our legs for Saturday.

“But we ended up having to defend for our lives because of some ridiculous finishing and a ridiculous decision from Tom Beadling to make the tackle that he did when he’d already been booked.

“I will stick up for the players when it comes to workrate, commitment and desire – that was tremendous.

“But you have to put the ball in the back of the net and we’re not talking about shots from 25 yards, we’re talking tap-ins from five yards.

“Part of that is probably a bit of pressure with the situation we’re in, but it comes down to technique and composure at the end of the day and that’s why the top boys get the best money I suppose.

“We should never have been in the situation where we were hanging on in that game.”

Scunthorpe were indebted to a near-post block from defender George Taft – minutes after Grant had seen red – to stop them falling behind to Gordon’s low strike in the 25th minute, but could do nothing when the Barrow striker teed up Rooney, who took his time and picked his spot from inside the box.

After the break, the dominant Bluebirds squandered several good openings to add to their lead, with Robbie Gotts denied by the feet of Scunthorpe’s Rory Watson and Aaron Amadi-Holloway firing wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

“It was very difficult with 10 men, both mentally and physically, for us to retain our focus,” Scunthorpe boss Keith Hill said.

“When you’re playing the majority of the game with negative possession, you have to try your best to defend and then get into a time period in the game where you can eke out opportunities.

“It was difficult for the players, but I don’t feel sorry for them. Hard work is part of the mantra they have to accept, but we put everything in.

“We’ve just got to get that character to transpire into better decision-making.

“We never hid or became a victim of the situation and I applaud that – but ultimately it was a frustrating night.”

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