We’re into the closing stages of the National League season and while Barrow have established themselves at the top of the table, the chasing pack still have a chance to overtake them.
With 37 games played, the Bluebirds sit four points clear of Harrogate Town and 10 points ahead of both third-placed Yeovil Town and Boreham Wood in fourth spot on goal difference, with many seeing it as their title to lose.
However, after analysing the last ten games of each of these teams before last weekend’s action, there’s no denying that Barrow AFC are going to be asked to do the hard yards if they want to hold onto their place at the summit of the National League and Non-League’s top flight.
They may be putting in impressive performances but there are more than enough potential banana skins for Barrow to slip-up on in their last nine games.
Barrow started the season very poorly, winning twice, drawing once, and losing five games through August, going on to start September with a loss to Hartlepool as well.
The Bluebirds’ turnaround has enabled them to surge up the table, with manager Ian Evatt citing that the players have a new belief in themselves, per The Mail’s report.
Over their final games, Barrow will face the demons who handed them so many early defeats, including Wrexham, Harrogate Town, Stockport County, Halifax Town and Woking.
The more fearsome aspect, however, is that all of Barrow’s upcoming opponents have a reason to strive for results, with them all either battling in a close relegation scrap or trying to secure a play-offs spot.
Before Saturday’s loss to Notts County and the time of writing, the average position of Barrow’s final ten opponents is 10.4, with games against early-season conquerors Halifax Town and Harrogate Town as well as Yeovil Town posing the most troubling match-ups.
On the heels of Barrow, Harrogate Town already holds the mental advantage over the league leaders, having put them to the sword to the tune of 3-0 as shown by BBC Sport. The two are set to meet again in what looks to be a six-pointer.
This result is likely to sway the Space Casino football betting a great deal. Barrow are favoured to secure the National League at 4/27, with Harrogate Town back at 5/1 despite only being five points back. A win on home turf could see Harrogate’s odds shrink to make them the favourites.
Harrogate have a similarly tough run-in to Barrow, with the average position of their last ten opponents clocking in at 11.1 at the time of writing. They also only managed to defeat two of their last ten foes in their earlier fixtures.
Boreham Wood may be 13 points adrift of the league leaders, but the team does have one huge advantage: a perceivably easier set of fixtures.
Boreham Wood’s last ten games feature eight teams in the bottom half of the National League at the time of writing. Only Halifax and Bromley offer top-half competition to Boreham Wood down the stretch, with the average position of their final opponents sitting at a lowly 16.7.
The Wood have been on a superb run of form, going without a loss in the league from 26 October to 25 February, as shown by the Boreham Wood Times.
So, if they can get back on track after the loss to Aldershot Town, the favourable run of fixtures could see them competing for the top spot, despite being out at 66/1 right now.
The experts may be leaning towards Barrow seeing out the season on top, but both Harrogate Town and Boreham Wood have a chance to usurp them if they make the most of their fixtures.
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news and action from across Non-League over the last seven days.
As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, The Non-League Paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.