Phil Yelland takes a look back at Forest Green Rovers' previous visits to Cumbria ahead of Saturday's game.
This Saturday sees the ninth meeting of the teams here at The Progression Solicitors Stadium.
The first meeting came close to 22 years ago when Rovers were in their first season in the top-flight of non-league football, whilst we were back at that level and struggling with financial issues at the door. In that December afternoon in 1998, we won 2-1 with goals from Carl Macauley and Welshman Marc Coates.
It was fully ten seasons before we met again here and we repeated the feat of winning, this time 3-1 with goals form former Rovers striker David Brown, who netted from the spot, Matt Henney and Jason Walker.
Four out of the next five Rovers visits to Holker Street ended in draws; the exception was in the early part of the 2010/11 season when we won 3-0 thanks to a goal by Jason Walker and two from winger Simon Wiles, whose career was ended by a knee injury. Simon is still very much involved in the game, as Academy Lead Professional Development Phase Coach (U18) at Fleetwood Town.
The most recent draw, back in late February 2016, saw us mount a comeback to take a point having trailed in the game, thanks to goals from Jordan Williams and Danny Livesey.
Our last meeting before Rovers gained a place in the Football League came in late January 2017. In midweek we had played superbly in front of the BT Sport cameras to defeat eventual champions Lincoln City 3-0 here, but we had lost the services of striker Byron Harrison to a serious ankle injury. The game was a five-goal thriller with a dramatic end.
Liam Noble, who has since been at Hartlepool United and is now at Morpeth Town, gave Rovers the lead. Richie Bennett, now at Stockport County, levelled things up before half time. Christian Doidge, who is now carving himself a good career with Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership, put Rovers back in front just past the hour mark.
With three minutes remaining Barrow were awarded a penalty. Ross Hannah took it and, whilst his effort was saved, he netted the rebound. There was a final twist with the game deep in injury time when the Barrow defence switched off and Emanuel Monthe, now at Tranmere Rovers, nipped in to net the winner and give Rovers a first victory here.
Let’s hope we can get win number four at home to Rovers on Saturday.