The Bluebirds fell to a disappointing home defeat as James Tilley’s second half drive was enough to hand Crawley Town all three points from Saturday’s encounter at The Dunes Hotel Stadium.
Visiting Crawley arrived on the back of a sequence of six defeats in a row but they made things difficult for Barrow from the off and took their best chance of the afternoon to secure a confidence-boosting victory.
Mark Cooper made three changes from the side which drew at Carlisle United last week; Luke James was given the nod in place of the suspended Josh Gordon, Remeao Hutton came back into the team and Mike Jones made his first league start in almost a year.
Barrow came out of the traps quickly and showed a keenness to push their visitors on to the back foot in the closing stages and they were moving the ball quickly to try and cause problems.
They could have stolen in front on seven minutes when Joe Grayson’s deep corner from the right almost curled in at the far post only for Town keeper Glenn Morris to back pedal quickly to claw it away.
Offrande Zanzala was left wondering how he hadn’t opened the scoring from the resultant corner as the ball flashed across the front man’s path on the edge of the six-yard area, but he couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch.
Crawley felt their way into the game and had their first shot in anger when Barrow made a meal of clearing a right-wing corner before Jake Hessenthaler’s low drive was blocked away from danger.
That opportunity seemed to give John Yems’ men extra belief and top scorer Kwesi Appiah came close midway through the half when the ball fell kindly for him 20 yards out, but his shot flew wide of the post.
The Bluebirds pushed forward again, and a half-cleared corner fell to Grayson 25 yards out who struck his effort on goal well, but it flashed across and wide of the post.
In the final minute of the half a low ball across the edge of the Town penalty area rolled right into the path of the arriving Remeao Hutton but he went for power and his first-time drive flew well over the bar.
Mark Cooper’s men came out positively at the start of the second half and Luke James fizzed a low cross into the box from the left within a minute of kick-off but the defence just about dealt with it.
Zanzala then showed some great determination to shield possession on the edge of the Town box before nudging the ball into the path of Patrick Brough whose low shot was comfortably held by Morris.
At the other end, Town showed their teeth from a long-range free kick taken by James Tilley which wasn’t too far wide of Paul Farman’s right-hand post.
Grayson then whipped a left-wing free kick into the visitors’ penalty area, which was met by James Jones near the penalty spot, but his goalbound header struck a Town defender and was smuggled clear.
On 56 minutes, Town took the lead. They swept forward quickly down the left side and worked the ball into the path of Tilley who struck an unerring drive beyond the despairing dive of Farman and into the far corner of the net for 1-0.
Barrow toiled to get back into the game and Cooper made a double substitution as Tom White and Josh Kay were introduced, the latter getting on to a deep free kick but not really troubling Morris with his low shot.
Robbie Gotts then tried to take matters into his own hands when he found space 30 yards from goal and decided to whip an effort on goal which dropped just wide of the target.
With two minutes left, a ball into the area was headed awkwardly up in the air by a visiting defender which gave Grayson a sniff of a chance, but he couldn’t quite prod past Morris who gratefully grabbed the loose ball.
Full Time: Barrow 0 Crawley Town 1
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, J Jones, Platt, Grayson, Brough, M Jones (White 61), Gotts, Banks, Zanzala, James (Kay 61).
Subs not used: Lillis, Brown, Arthur, Taylor.
Booked: Banks, Brough.
Crawley Town: Morris, Davies, Francomb, Craig, Powell, Nadesan (Nichols 69), Frost (Ferry 69), Tilley (Ashford 84), Francillette, Appiah, Hessenthaler.
Subs not used: Battle, Kowalczyk, Bansal-McNulty, Nna Noukeu.
Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 3,429 (69 Crawley Town)