TORQUAY United stepped out at home for the final time in 2015/16 as a large and vocal crowd gathered to celebrate us securing our National League status, something that looked unlikely only a few short months ago.
The opposition were mid-table, Barrow, who are managed by former United boss, Paul Cox, just to add a bit of extra spice to the occasion.
There was a return to action for Exodus Geohaghon with skipper, Angus MacDonald , suspended and the on-loan Nathan Smith ruled out through injury.
Whilst disappointed to have to sit out the game, there was joy for Smith ahead of kick-off when he was presented with the Player and Young Player of the Season awards.
With the Yellow Army in good voice, United started the game with real purpose and saw plenty of the early ball.
However, in Barrow’s first raid, a strike from Haworth was well saved by Brendan Moore.
There were a lot of free-kicks given away by both sides in the opening exchanges and from a visitors’ free-kick, the ball was curled goalwards and produced a smart save from Moore.
At the other end, Josh Rees tried his luck with a strike from distance that just flew over the crossbar.
A trademark long throw-in from Exodus Geohaghon caused problems for the visitors’ defence who managed to scramble clear under pressure.
Shaun Harrad was booked for a foul on Lacey with 20 minutes on the clock. He then went close to opening the scoring when a loose ball fell to him and with the ‘keeper out of position, he tried his luck from distance but the ball hit the woodwork.
There was a booking for Allen for a foul.
The visitors took the lead on 34 minutes when a clearance from Moore struck Geohaghon and the ball fell into the path of Tomlinson who was able to find the net with the ‘keeper out of position to make it 1-0.
An opportunity presented itself for Allen but as he tried to line up a strike at goal, Barrow managed to crowd him out. However, Allen won a free-kick in a promising position which was delivered in search of Harrad who was just off target.
Right at the end of the opening period, a corner for United found Aman Verma whose strike through a crowd of players was well saved on the line by Dixon.
It meant that we went in at the break one goal down.
There was a change for United at the break with Toby Ajala on for Rees.
A free-kick delivered high into the area by Luke Young found the head of Ben Gerring but the ball skimmed off his head and went wide of the target.
Some good play from Ajala saw him battle well to win the ball and burst forward before trying to find Blissett but the ball was cleared.
The equaliser duly arrived on 61 minutes when skipper for the day, Courtney Richards, arrowed a powerful strike home from 30 yards to make it 1-1.
In the wake of the goal, Danny Racchi replaced Luke Young before a third and final change saw Allen replaced by Sam Chaney.
A long throw-in from Geohaghon caused more problems for Barrow as Gerring’s header was cleared for a corner and from the resulting flag-kick, it was Gerring who won the ball again but his attempt hit the woodwork.
United stepped up a gear in the wake of the equaliser and looked the most likely side as the half went on.
There was a chance for the visitors when Cook did well to beat Geohaghon and get into a good position before firing wide of the mark.
With just under ten minutes left on the clock, United took the lead courtesy of a fine team goal as Chaney did well to set Harrad away and his pass into the stride of Nathan Blissett put the ball on a plate for the front-man to make it 2-1.
The visitors pushed for a leveller in the wake of the goal as Williams went close on a couple of occasions before a corner found Cook who rattled the woodwork in between some determined defending from Gerring.
The pressure from the visitors finally paid off when Cook did well before firing home with a stoppage time leveller to make it 2-2.
There was still time for Richards to hit another screamer just inches wide but our home programme ended with a point from an entertaining draw.