Barrow fell to a fourth successive defeat as Kwesi Appiah’s instinctive second half finish was enough to secure three points for Crawley Town at The People’s Pension Stadium.
Phil Brown’s men held their own during a first half in which they spurned several half chances to go in front, but the hosts were improved after the break and Appiah’s finish just before the hour proved decisive.
It was a slow start from both sides, but it was Barrow who began to settle the quicker and they had the first real chance on nine minutes when Ollie Banks’ cross from the right found its way through to Josh Kay, but he could only send an effort just wide of the post.
There was a nervous moment for Town keeper Glenn Morris on 17 minutes when Paul Farman’s long clearance skipped up a little higher than the Crawley shot stopper had expected and it almost looped over him only for him to fingertip it round the post.
A corner from John Rooney on the left was poorly defended by the home side and Banks arrived to shoot from 12 yards only for his low strike to flash wide of the upright.
There was danger at the other end when Crawley seized on a loose pass in midfield to drive forward on goal, but Kwesi Appiah could only drag his shot across goal and wide.
Rooney then clipped a free kick in from the left which Crawley again failed to deal with and Joe Grayson came close to netting a goal on his return to the starting eleven, but his volley dropped wide.
The lively James Tilley jinked into some space on the right for the hosts before delivering a wicked cross into the front post which was glanced on by Tom Nichols but gathered comfortably by Farman.
Matt Platt’s downward header from a corner was straight at keeper Morris, while Josh Kay drilled a powerful effort too high after cutting inside from the left.
Town responded with an effort from long-range in first half stoppage time, but Isaac Hutchinson’s speculative strike dipped just too late to cause a problem for Farman.
Farman had to be alert in the early stages of the second half when a right-wing corner was only cleared as far as Jack Payne whose powerful drive was blocked before the Bluebirds keeper made a great save from George Francomb’s follow-up strike.
Town should have been in front on 56 minutes when a corner was worked short and clipped into the area where Appiah could only nod an effort wastefully wide from close range.
However, Appiah made up for that just a minute later when Town again worked a good position on the left and a low ball came into the area for the front man who cleverly flicked it beyond Farman with the outside of his right boot for 1-0.
The home side were on top now and could have gone further in front but for a good block from Matt Platt, while Ashley Nadasan fed a lovely ball across the face of goal which was begging to be tapped in but nobody in red could oblige.
Barrow began to recover their composure and came close to levelling when Banks found a route towards the edge of the box and prodded a shot on goal, but it drifted just wide of the post.
Josh Gordon came off the bench for The Bluebirds and had a half chance when he found space on the right of the area, but his shot was deflected behind, and the resultant corner was cleared.
The hosts could have made the game safe five minutes from time when the flag stayed down as Appiah ran in behind, but Farman charged from his line to make a big save to deny him.
Substitute Luke James came agonisingly close to rescuing a point for The Bluebirds in the first minutes of stoppage time when he unloaded a shot which was arrowing into the bottom corner before it was cleared off the line by a defender.
Full Time: Crawley Town 1 Barrow 0
Crawley Town: Morris, Francomb, Nichols, Nadesan (Marshall 89), Tilley, Francillette, Ferry (Gallacher 70), Appiah, Payne, Hessenthaler, Hutchinson (Lynch 75).
Subs not used: Davies, Matthews, Seymour.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, Platt, Canavan, Grayson, Gotts (J Jones 75), Beadling, Rooney (Gordon 70), Banks, Kay (James 83), Amadi-Holloway.
Subs not used: Lillis, White, Taylor.
Booked: Rooney, Platt.
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 2,081 (150 Barrow)