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We've Met Before: Bristol Rovers

27 August 2021

A photograph of Barrow's Dunes Hotel Stadium Ian Allington
The Dunes Hotel Stadium

Phil Yelland dips into the archive to take a look at what has happened on previous occasions when Barrow have hosted Bristol Rovers.

This weekend’s visit of Bristol Rovers to The Dunes Hotel Stadium will be just their fifth trip to Barrow.

The clubs didn’t meet until the 1967/68 season when Barrow played in Division Three for the first time, and the first meeting at the start of October 1967 saw Barrow win 1-0 thanks to a goal from David Storf. It was our first home win in Division Three.

The following season the meeting came in Barrow’s final home game of the season in April 1969 and the 3-0 win achieved, in effect, secured safety. The goals came from striker George McLean and two from midfielder Tony Morrin, who only scored six times in 113 games for the Club.

Rovers’ last League trip to Barrow was in November 1969. We were already bottom of Division Three after a run of 14 league games without a win. Our last home win had come at the end of August against Fulham, and we had just taken four games to battle past Alfreton Town of the Midland League in the FA Cup First Round. We were unbeaten in seven games during November having drawn three games, as well as three draws and one win over Alfreton. It looked as if our plight was going to get worse, as Rovers stalwart Bobby Jones put The Pirates ahead with around five minutes remaining. However, we grabbed an equaliser in a goalmouth scramble with two minutes to go when substitute Jim Mulvaney, who had missed the previous nine games, poked the ball home to rescue a point.

The last time Rovers visited Holker Street was in November 2006 in the FA Cup First Round. At the time, Phil Wilson was in charge of a Barrow side in Conference North whilst Rovers were in League Two. Those who were at the game are unlikely to forget it. The conditions of a gale force wind and driving rain were horrendous – best illustrated when a Jamie Speare goal kick blew back out of play for a corner to Rovers. It was also James Cotterill’s final game in Barrow colours after an off the ball incident captured by the Match of the Day cameras saw subsequent action being taken against him.

Rovers led 3-0 after an hour but, with the wind behind them, Barrow battled back with goals from Tom Pope and Nick Rogan. In the last minute a wind assisted drive by Steve Ridley brought a fingertip save from Steve Phillips in the Rovers goal, which denied Barrow the replay they probably deserved.

Hopefully, tomorrow we can finally avenge that defeat.


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