Barrow continued their impressive form with a brilliant win over Mansfield Town as Ollie Banks’ second half penalty was enough to secure three points at The One Call Stadium.
Mark Cooper’s men showed a blend of substance and style in victory over The Stags and the victory was nothing more than they and their noisy band of travelling supporters deserved.
Barrow could have been in front with just four minutes on the clock when an attempted Mansfield clearance ricocheted right into the path of Josh Kay eight yards out, but he lashed an effort off the cross bar and the home side survived.
The Bluebirds continued their dominant start when Patrick Brough met Robbie Gotts’ floating corner but his headed was cleared off the line by a Town defender.
Stags’ summer signing Rhys Oates was first to test Paul Farman. The front man beautifully controlled a long ball forward before unleashing a low drive on goal but the Barrow keeper was equal to it.
At the other end, Josh Kay found an angle to let fly on the right corner of the box but keeper Nathan Bishop got down well, before Town’s Stephen McLaughlin curled a 25-yard free kick wide.
Joe Grayson swung a free kick to the far post where Ollie Banks headed down towards goal but it was somehow blocked on the line and Josh Gordon could only fire the rebound against the side netting.
Town began to look more likely as the half wore on and George Lapslie had his head in his hands after he turned inside to fire on goal from twenty yards and his shot flashed just wide of Farman’s post.
Nigel Clough’s men came even closer in first half injury time when a free kick from the right was headed down by Oli Hawkins, and Mark Ellis had to react quickly to clear it off the line.
There was an early second half chance for The Bluebirds when a corner from the right fell kindly for Grayson on the left of the area and his powerfully struck shot almost squirmed past Bishop who was grateful to pounce on it at the second attempt.
On 54 minutes Barrow had a penalty when Ellis was shoved in the back as he attacked a cross from the right – and Banks made no mistake from the spot, rifling a powerful shot into the roof of the net to give Cooper’s men the lead.
The Stags tried to respond through Ollie Clarke who cur in dangerously from the left to let fly with a curling effort, but Farman was well behind it to claw the ball away to safety.
Offrande Zanzala was introduced from the bench and could have made a big impact on 71 minutes when Gordon did brilliantly to feed Jordan Stevens on the right and his low cross found Zanzala whose shot flashed wide of the post.
Just minutes later, James Jones’ raking pass released Stevens in behind on the left and when his low shot was parried by the keeper, Gordon’s follow-up header was blocked by a defender and hosts escaped.
At the other end a corner was cleared only as far as Clarke on the edge of the area who met the dropping ball with a crisp volley which flashed past the post with Farman covering.
The home side continued to push for a leveller, but The Bluebirds held firm for the most part and looked a real menace on the counterattack and with a little more care with passes could even have extended their lead.
Town’s biggest moment came in the first minute of injury time when a ball into the box was flicked on to Danny Johnson, but the substitute wastefully nodded over from close range.
And the hosts’ misery was completed at the death when Farrend Rawson was shown a red card when he hauled down Gordon to prevent the Bluebirds man from running clear to make it 2-0.
Full Time: Mansfield Town 0 Barrow 1
Mansfield Town: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Rawson, Charsley, O Clarke, Bowery, Maris (Law 83), Hawkins, Oates (Johnson 65), Lapslie.
Subs not used: Shelvey, Burke, Ward, J Clarke, Cooper.
Booked: McLaughlin, Lapslie, Charsley. Maris.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, Ellis, J Jones, Grayson, Brough, Banks (Taylor 81), Gotts, Stevens, Kay (Zanzala 65), Gordon.
Subs: Lillis, Arthur, White, Williams.
Booked: J Jones, Ellis, Gordon, Banks, Gotts.
Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 3,931 (190 Barrow)