• Nathan Smith


Exeter were denied a play-off place after being held to a 1-1 draw at St James Park against a resilient Barrow side.

It started off well for the Grecians at Matt Jay fired the home side ahead, but Barrow were never out of the game and Tom Beadling powered Rob Kelly's team level ten minutes after half time.

Despite Exeter starting the game in control, it was Barrow who had the first real chance as Chris Taylor took advantage of a Joe Quigley flick on, but his attempt floated just past the post.

The visitors then almost struck on the 13th minute in bizarre fashion, as goalkeeper Joel Dixon’s long kick almost caught out Jokull Andresson, who had to tip wide for a corner.

However, it was the home side who landed the first blow after 25 minutes, as Lewis Page picked out Robbie Willmott, and the wingers low cross was flicked home by Matt Jay.

Exeter looked a real threat down the left wing, as Robbie Willmott and Lewis Page pinpoint delivery caused a few problems for the Barrow defence and almost lead to a second, as Page’s fierce low drive just needed a touch which unfortunately for the home side, was not there.

It could have been two in spectacular fashion five minutes before the break, as Robbie Willmott drifted past Neal Eardley to pick out Randell Williams, but his ambitious overhead kick attempt did not connect properly with the ball.

Barrow almost got on level terms after a long throw was headed into the path of Neal Eardley, who’s low drive from the edge of the box flashed wide.

Straight after that, Williams almost put his side further in front, as he took advantage of three rebounds to get inside the box, before his low effort was tipped away by Joel Dixon and subsequently cleared.

The away side pushed ferociously for an equaliser before half time, and after being denied a penalty for an alleged handball by Alex Hartridge, Tom Beadling’s header floated just wide and sent Barrow into the dressing room a goal down.

Exeter started the second half the better side, as captain Jake Taylor tested Joel Dixon with a volley from just outside the box, which was dealt with by the Barrow goalkeeper.

It was a set piece that allowed Barrow back into the game, as a corner deflected into the path of Tom Beadling who powered it home from close range.

Similar to the first half, Matt Taylor’s side had more of the ball, but Barrow’s structured defence held firm and denied the Grecians many clear-cut opportunities.

With twenty minutes to go, Exeter fashioned out a chance as Randell Williams dinked a ball into the box, but Ryan Bowman couldn’t generate enough power to test Dixon.

The home side pushed for a winner to try and put them into the play-off spots, and came close as Wilmott crossed into Ben Seymour but his flicked header was easy for the Barrow goalkeeper.

As Exeter pushed, spaces were left at the back and Barrow almost took advantage as Patrick Brough ran almost the length of the pitch into the Grecian box, but Jack Sparkes was there to divert his cutback away for a corner.

With nine minutes to go, Exeter came close once again as Ben Seymour drilled the ball across goal into the path of Ryan Bowman, who blazed over the bar from six yards out.

Despite already securing survival, Barrow were determined to leave St James Park with three points as substitute Ollie Banks forced Andresson into a save with a low drive from range.

Early into the seven minutes stoppage time, Bowman carved out a chance for Ben Seymour and his attempt could only find Dixon.

City kept the ball alive but Nigel Atangana's shot floated into the hands of Joel Dixon.

Exeter tried and tried, but could not break down a tough Barrow team, who held firm to end the season in 21st, whereas the Grecians end in 9th.