Patrick Brough and Scott Quigley were both on target as Barrow clinched another priceless home victory as Exeter City were put to the sword at The Progression Solicitors Stadium.
Brough slid home a superb opener right at the end of the first half before top scorer Quigley added his 13th of the season near the end of the second.
Pierce Sweeney pulled one back in injury time but it was too little too late for the play-off chasing visitors as Rob Kelly’s men claimed a crucial three points in their fight to retain their EFL status.
Exeter began the half on the front foot and looked keen to build on their away win at Cambridge United by producing another positive performance on the road.
Matt Taylor’s men forced a couple of early corners as they made Barrow work hard in the early stages but, as things settled down, The Bluebirds got a foothold in the game.
Long throw-ins from both sides of the pitch – including one from the surprise source of Luke James – were causing a few problems for City, particularly as the sun lowered over the stands on a pleasant evening in Cumbria.
Archie Collins released a snapshot for The Grecians from the edge of the area but dragged it wide as the game became scrappy, both sides having to work hard and keep their concentration an increasingly tricky surface.
The dangerous Randell Williams did well to slip a clever ball into the feet of Matt Jay on the right side of the box, but Exeter’s in-form star couldn’t generate enough power in his shot to trouble Joel Dixon.
The visitors then whipped a wicked corner in to the Barrow box from the right which caused mayhem inside the area until Kgose Ntlhe took charge to clear his lines, while winning a free kick for a late challenge.
It appeared the opening half would end without major incident until, right at the end of one minute of stoppage time, Patrick Brough intervened. James collected the ball back to goal on the edge of the box and turned skilfully into space before being upended and, as everyone stopped waiting for a decision from the referee, Brough strode onto the loose ball and steered it low past City keeper Jokull Andresson to hand The Bluebirds a half time lead.
Exeter tried to respond right at the start of the second period when Josh Key got to the byline on the right and whipped a cross into the front post, but Collins couldn’t quite direct his glancing header on goal and it was easily gathered by Dixon.
City boss Taylor threw caution to the wind with three changes around the hour mark as he looked to try and find a way back into the game but Barrow were defending with real determination and making their visitors work for every opening.
Jake Taylor turned neatly to find space on the right of the area but found his path blocked by Tom Davies before the City skipper had another effort from the edge of the area which was easily dealt with by Dixon.
The Barrow keeper was tested on 83 minutes when Jake Caprice chipped a dangerous cross into the far post for the arriving Jack Sparkes, but his header was brilliantly held by Dixon much to the relief of the home defence.
Exeter continued to press and a half-cleared ball into the box fell kindly for Lewis Page who struck on goal first time, but his effort swerved wide of the target.
Quigley then did brilliantly at the other end to worm his way into the area on the left before fizzing a dangerous low ball to the far post where Brad Barry slid in to try and meet it but couldn’t provide the touch to send it home.
However, Quigley made a meaningful contribution in the first minute of injury time when he raced onto Calvin Andrew’s superb flick-on, shrugged off the defender and then slipped a clinical finish past Andresson.
City made it a nervy finale after Sweeney rammed a volley in from close range after a corner caused chaos in The Bluebirds area but it wasn’t enough to see them stage a comeback and the points stayed in Cumbria.
Full Time: Barrow 2 Exeter City 1
Barrow: Dixon, Eardley, Barry, Davies, Thomas, Ntlhe, Brough, J Taylor, C Taylor (Beadling), Quigley, James (Andrew 75).
Subs not used: Moloney, J Jones, Banks, Sea.
Booked: Ntlhe, Brough, Quigley.
Exeter City: Andresson, Key, Sweeney, Parkes (Caprice 61), Sparkes, Atangana (Fisher 77), Taylor, Collins, Williams (56), Jay (Page 56), Bowman.
Subs not used: Maxted, McArdle, Hartridge.
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: Behind Closed Doors