Jake Beesley scored twice as Rochdale defeated Barrow at The Dunes Hotel Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ground staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure the game went ahead despite heavy rain throughout the week but their efforts weren’t rewarded with a result from The Bluebirds.
Rochdale got on the front foot in the early stages and fired a warning shot within five minutes when Jimmy Keohane did well to find space on the left of the area, but Paul Farman quickly came out to close the angle and make a big save.
Keohane flashed another effort just wide and then Jake Beesley nodded a close-range header just over the bar from a corner as the visitors pressed for an opener.
Barrow finally came into the game as an attacking threat on 18 minutes when Josh Kay wriggled into a shooting position and saw his effort parried by keeper Joel Coleman before Robbie Gotts’ follow-up was blocked.
However, just before the half hour mark, Dale did lead. There was a suspicion of handball as Beesley took control and drove in behind the Barrow defence but there was no doubt about the finish as he rammed a low shot beyond Farman for 1-0.
The Bluebirds players literally ran from the pitch to get into the dressing room at half time and whatever words were said by Mark Cooper certainly had the desired effect.
Barrow were back on level terms within ten minutes of the restart as Josh Gordon was upended by Corey O’Keefe inside the area and Ollie Banks took the penalty, which was saved by the keeper but headed in on the rebound by the Bluebirds’ midfield star.
Cooper’s men looked energised, and they remained on the front foot and substitute Luke James could have given them the lead when he ran on to Gotts’ ball, but his shot was well blocked.
Dale then stunned their hosts by breaking down to the other end and stealing a second goal when Corey O’Keefe’s ball across the six-yard area found Beesley who was able to stab the visitors back in front on 72 minutes.
The goal seemed to take the wind out of Barrow’s sails for a spell, but they came back into it in the closing stages and James got another shot in on goal which a defender did well to block.
However, they couldn’t find a way through and were consigned to their second home defeat of the campaign as Dale celebrated the three points.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Rochdale 2
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, Brown (Platt 64), Ellis (Arthur 74), Grayson, Brough, Banks, Gotts, Williams (James 68), Kay, Gordon.
Subs not used: Lillis, White, Devitt.
Booked: Gordon, Brown, Platt.
Rochdale: Coleman, O’Keeffe, O’Connell, Morley, Beesley, Newby (Grant 74), Dorsett, Keohane, Graham, Odoh (Broadbent 86), Kelly (Dooley 90).
Subs not used: Lynch, White, Taylor, Cashman.
Booked: Graham, Odoh.
Referee: Declan Bourne
Attendance: 3,366 (319 Rochdale)