Barrow were once again left frustrated as two second half goals from Forest Green Rovers’ in-form front man Matty Stevens condemned them to defeat at The New Lawn on Tuesday night.
There was little between the sides during a competitive first half in which it could be argued that The Bluebirds engineered the better chances.
However, Stevens’ potency in front of goal proved the difference after the break as he twice found a way past Paul Farman to consolidate Rovers’ position at the summit of League Two.
Mark Cooper’s preparations were upset during the warm-up when Connor Brown was forced to withdraw from the starting eleven to be replaced by Remeao Hutton, whilst the Bluebirds boss also restored Josh Kay and Josh Gordon to the line-up in Gloucestershire.
The tempo was good in the opening stages but there wasn’t much in terms of goalmouth action, though James Jones did not an effort on target which was easily claimed by home keeper Luke McGee.
The Bluebirds foraged forward well down the left and worked an angle for Patrick Brough to whip a dangerous cross into the middle which flashed through the six-yard area without picking up a touch.
Both sides continued to probe with patience, but Barrow were holding their own against one of the most potent sides in the division and began to grow in confidence.
On 38 minutes, Offrande Zanzala had a half chance when he was picked out by a long ball from James Jones, but the front man’s glancing header dropped wide of the post.
A defensive mix-up could have given Barrow a helping hand three minutes before the break when miscommunication at the back saw Dom Bernard head a long ball forward past McGee as he rushed from his line. Thankfully for the hosts, the defender was able to chase back and clear off the line in the nick of time.
The Bluebirds were sensing a nervousness at the back and came close to opening the scoring again a minute later when Remeao Hutton delivered a wicked low ball into the area which fizzed through the area and through to safety.
Rovers finally tested Paul Farman at the other end in first half injury time when Nicky Cadden found space on the left corner of the box and let fly with a rasping drive which was well parried round the post by the Barrow keeper.
It was the home side began the second half with the greater menace and fired a few dangerous balls into the Barrow penalty area without managing to carve out a shooting opportunity.
The Bluebirds answered back with a deep free kick delivered from the left by Joe Grayson to fellow centre-back Matt Platt, but his far post header took a couple of deflections before dropping just wide.
The deadlock was broken just after the hour point when Cadden whipped in a corner from the left which was met perfectly by top scorer Matty Stevens, and he directed a header away from Farman and into the corner of the net for 1-0.
Stevens could have doubled his tally a couple of minutes later when he again met a delivery from the left but this time he got his angles wrong and the ball flashed just wide of the far post.
Barrow tried to get a foothold back in the game, but Rovers continued to carry the greater threat and Regan Hendry could have made it 2-0 when he drove infield from the right, but his crisp low shot from 25 yards flew just wide of the post.
Rovers made the points safe seven minutes from time when Jamille Matt was slipped in on the left side of the box and he unselfishly squared the ball for Stevens who had the easy task of converting his 14th goal of the season in all competitions.
Kay twisted and turned his into a shooting position at the edge of the box as he looked for some injury time consolation, but he fired his effort too high.
Full Time: Forest Green Rovers 2 Barrow 0
Forest Green Rovers: McGee, Wilson (Godwin-Malife 65), Bernard, Cargill, Stevenson, Adams, Stevens (Sweeney 90+5), Cadden, Matt, Moore-Taylor, Hendry (Aitchison 76).
Subs: Thomas, Young, Diallo, March.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, J Jones, Platt, Grayson, Brough, Banks, Gotts (Arthur 87), Kay, Gordon, Zanzala.
Subs not used: Lillis, M Jones, Taylor, White.
Booked: Kay, Brough.
Referee: Chris Sarginson
Attendance: 1,842 (119 Barrow)