Alves double enough to sink brave Barrow

Middlesbrough 2 Barrow 1: Boro forced to work hard as non-League side come close to earning replay

The FA Cup has not been the kindest to Barrow down the years. Back in 1972 they lost their Football League status to Hereford, thanks in no small measure to the Southern Leaguers' famous third-round replay victory against Newcastle and that long-range wonder goal by Ronnie Radford.

Seeking a measure of overdue amends on Teesside yesterday, and a place in the fourth round of the competition for the first time in their history, the club from the south-west corner of Cumbria were beaten by a couple of prosaic finishes by Boro's boy from Brazil, Afonso Alves.

They were bog-standard efforts – a 22nd-minute shot and a 62nd-minute header – but still something of collector's items, Middlesbrough's £12.7m record signing having found the back of the opposition net on just three previous occasions this season.

Middlesbrough needed both of his goals yesterday. After dominating for 80 minutes and squandering a succession of chances to put the third-round tie beyond the reach of their Blue Square Premier opponents, the Premier League hosts were obliged to endure a nervy finale when striker Jason Walker halved the deficit and gave Barrow and their massive band of supporters the sniff of an upset.

Sadly for the minnows, who had struck the woodwork in the first half, it was not to be. Still, at least they managed to go down with a fight, roared on by a feisty following of 7,000 fans – among them one Graham Spencer, an exiled Barrovian who had made a 5,500-mile round trip from his adopted home in Nova Scotia.

"We put on a great show for them," said Darren Sheridan, Barrow's joint player-manager and an unused substitute yesterday. "I hope they've gone home happy."

The Cumbrians might have struck the first scoring blow had Walker summoned greater composure when Matt Henney cut back an inviting ball to him on the edge of the home penalty area in the 14th minute. Unfortunately for the underdogs, Walker miscued his shot and they were obliged to dig deep thereafter to stop Middlesbrough sweeping them aside before half-time.

Indeed, Barrow were indebted to Alan Martin, their loanee goalkeeper from Leeds. The Scotland under-21 international made a succession of smart saves but was beaten in the 22nd minute when Stewart Downing released Alves through the middle and, after checking that the linesman's flag was down, the Brazilian buried a low shot.

For 25 minutes, it was one-way traffic but then, five minutes before the interval, Barrow came within a whisker of an equaliser. Brad Jones, Middlesbrough's Australian keeper, failed to hold on to a cross and, from the edge of the home penalty area, Mike Pearson despatched a low drive that clipped the legs of Robert Huth, struck the base of the right-hand post, and went wide for a corner.

Just before that close call, Jérémie Aliadière had been stretchered from the pitch after coming off the worst in a challenge with Barrow centre-half Steve McNulty. And four minutes into the second half, play was held up for several minutes after Pearson was felled by Marvin Emnes, Aliadière's replacement. The right-back was taken to hospital suffering from a double fracture of the right leg.

The odds on an upset lengthened in the 62nd minute when Downing clipped a cross from the right touchline and Alves applied a scoring touch with his head at the far post.

It was only the Brazilian's fifth goal of the season but it could have easily been accompanied by five more yesterday. Time after time, he was denied by the brilliance of Martin, whose loan spell from Leeds was only extended to the season's end on Thursday.

The young keeper's most stunning save denied Emnes, while Downing missed a sitter before Barrow – the Bluebirds – struck out of the blue.

With 10 minutes of regulation time remaining, substitute Andy Bond hoisted a corner from the left, McNulty flicked it on and Walker headed the ball in from six yards.

The final whistle – when it came, after seven minutes of overtime – was greeted with a collective sigh of relief from the regulars at the Riverside.

Attendance: 25,132

Referee: M Dean

Man of the match: Martin

Match rating: 7/10

Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor