BLUEBIRDS boss Paul Cox admitted he is “baffled” by his team’s inconsistent form.
But after their amazing comeback at the EBB Stadium, he challenged his players to once again upset the odds and reclaim their National League play-off place.
Barrow came from two goals down at Aldershot, and survived having both Nick Anderton and Shaun Beeley sent off, as Ross Hannah netted a stunning 35-yard free-kick in the 95th minute to claim a 2-2 draw.
“This group baffles me sometimes. We’ve been a little bit erratic with results, we don’t seem to have that consistency, but games like today can reignite you,” he said after his nine men snatched a point deep into injury time, after Shaun Tuton had given them hope with his first goal for the club.
“There is a learning curve, mentally, with some of the players, and we need to get rid of some of the skeletons in our closet – and now we need to take the desire and energy of our second-half performance into every game between now and the end of the season.”
Praising his team’s “character and never-say-die attitude” after deciding “you might as well go for it rather than just accept a defeat” in the final stages, Cox hopes to inspire an ‘us against the world’ spirit at Holker Street for the final 16 games of the season.
“I want to upset the applecart, I don’t think anyone wants us in the play-offs,” he suggested somewhat mischievously. “They look at us as being a bit of a wart on the nose of this league.
“It’s sometimes frightening to look at the company that we’re keeping up there.
“All the clubs around us now have got scope to be Football League clubs and we’ve got to be hungry, we’ve got to bite and scratch to prove that we belong here.”
Through suspension and form, places throughout the team are now up for grabs for Wednesday’s trip to Macclesfield – and may even include several new faces.
Both Anderton and Beeley will be suspended after they were each dismissed for second bookable offences, though talks have been ongoing with a Football League club over a pair of potential loan recruits.
Hannah will also hope to be given more game-time after his third goal in four games – having played no more than 20 minutes in each of them.
“The front three that we finished the game with is food for thought, in terms of our shape and personnel. We looked a menace,” said Cox, who appealed for common sense from referee Hatzidakis in the incident which sparked Beeley’s needless red card.
“(The referee) made some strange decisions today. This league is so professional now and it needs proper officials that are professional in the way they do things.”
The two dismissals leave Barrow short of defenders, but Cox revealed: “We were let down on one or two (new signings) that should have been in for today, and we’re looking to move on them again early in the week. It’s a priority now but even before today we needed bodies in.”