Barrow AFC v Aldershot Town match preview – Saturday 28 October 2017
Tuesday evening’s 2-2 draw with Sutton United at The EBB Stadium saw Aldershot Town rise to sixth place in the National League standings. Fabien Robert and Scott Rendell scored the goals as The Shots twice came from behind to earn a point. This weekend, Gary Waddock’s men make the long trip to Cumbria to take on Barrow at Holker Street.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Bobby-Joe Taylor (knee) remains side-lined along with Nick Arnold (ACL) who is out until at least March. Jim Kellermann is available again having served a one-match suspension on Tuesday, after picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Tranmere Rovers. Otherwise, Shots manager Gary Waddock should have a full squad to select from.
Barrow AFC were formed in 1901 and play their home games at Holker Street (currently sponsored as the “Furness Building Society Stadium”). The club spent over fifty years in the Football League between 1921 and 1972, achieving promotion to Division Three by finishing 3rd in the Fourth Division in the 1966–67 season. The highest league placing in the club’s history was to be short-lived and a return to Division 4 came after relegation in 1969–70 season. At the end of the 1971–72 season, after an unsuccessful bid for re-election, Barrow were voted out of the Football League, to be replaced by Hereford United. Barrow have since spent their time in the top two levels of non-league football, having been promoted five times to the Conference, most recently as Conference North champions in 2014-15. They have twice won non-league football’s most prestigious cup competition, the FA Trophy, in 1990 and 2010, becoming the only club to have won the Trophy at both old and new Wembley Stadium. The club colours are blue and white.
The Bluebirds are currently without a manager, although it is understood that an appointment is imminent and the new man may well be in place for Saturday’s match. Paul Cox left Barrow by mutual agreement in September 2017, to take charge of fellow National League outfit Guiseley. His Assistant, Micky Moore took over as Caretaker-Manager, a position that was made permanent with a two-and-a-half-year contract a few weeks later, but after just eight games in charge, Moore was sacked leaving the position vacant for a second time.
Barrow finished last season in seventh place in the National League, narrowly missing out on the National League Play-offs with 75 points from 46 games.
The Bluebirds have struggled this season and following Tuesday evening’s last minute 3-2 defeat at Chester, find themselves amongst the relegation places in the National League, with just thirteen points collected to date, from seventeen matches.
Barrow lost some key players in the close season, three of which moved up to the Football League, in Jordan Williams (Rochdale), Nick Anderton (Blackpool) and Richie Bennett (Carlisle United). Centre-back, Captain and Player of the Season Danny Livesey joined Salford, whilst Ross Hannah and Paul Turnbull both joined Chester. Inih Effiong – now playing for Woking – was also released.
Following the midweek sale of midfielder Alex Ray-Harvey to Guiseley, just six players remain at Holker Street from last season. They include goalkeeper Joel Dixon, highly-rated defender Moussa Diarra, midfielder Liam Hughes and fit-again striker Byron Harrison. Notable new signings this season include defenders Dan Jones (Grimsby Town) and Jack Barthram (Cheltenham Town), midfielders Asa Hall (also Cheltenham Town) and Bedsente Gomis (Sutton United), plus strikers Jordan White (Wrexham) and Adi Yussuf (Grimsby Town). White, Gomis and Harrison have each scored four goals to date this season.
Saturday sees just the fifth meeting between Aldershot Town and Barrow. The 2015-16 meetings saw the away side coming out on top on both occasions. At Holker Street, the Shots produced one of their best performances of the season, as a Charlie Walker brace and a Cheye Alexander cracker secured a 3-1 victory in Cumbria, whilst in April 2016 Andy Cook scored the only goal of a game. On the opening day of last season, Barrow also won 1-0, with Liam Hughes scoring the only goal. When the two sides met again at The EBB Stadium in February, Ross Hannah’s brilliant 95th minute free-kick snatched a point for nine-man Barrow as they came from two goals down late on. A superb opening 45 minutes from The Shots put the hosts in control, as Matt McClure fired the opener after just 49 seconds and Will Evans headed a second from close range on 26 minutes – yet the Bluebirds rescued a draw with two fine solo goals.
The Bluebirds did face Aldershot FC on 23 occasions. The first, a 2nd Round FA Cup tie in December 1934, resulted in a 2-0 win for the visitors at Holker Street, but the other 22 all took place in the Football League’s Fourth Division. Those games saw ten wins for the Shots, five for Barrow with seven draws. The Shots did manage an 8-2 victory at what is now the EBB Stadium in November 1963, but their results in Cumbria were less impressive. Of the eleven league meetings at Holker Street, six were draws, including the last four. Aldershot FC did manage two wins – 4-3 in January 1959 and 2-0 in April 1964 – whilst Barrow won on three other occasions. The last four fixtures all ended in ties, with a triumvirate of 1-1 results and a 2-2 scoreline in September 1965.
Saturday’s referee is Simeon Lucas, who has taken charge of 6 National League matches so far this season, showing 23 yellow cards and no red cards to date. This is his first season officiating at this level.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall and a special guest summariser will be covering the game live on Saturday. Tune in to the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App from 2:50pm for full match commentary. You can also contact us throughout the afternoon via Twitter. Tweet your predictions and thoughts on the game to @RobShot66