The Bluebirds fell to a slender defeat to play-off chasing Swindon Town on Saturday who needed a late goal to take all three points at The County Ground.
It looked as though Phil Brown’s side had snatched a point when Matt Platt’s 8rd-minute header cancelled out Josh Davison’s opener – but there was a sting in the tail for Barrow as Louis Reed rammed in a winner with four minutes remaining.
Barrow began the game in positive fashion and Matt Platt had a decent chance inside four minutes when he met John Rooney’s corner from the left, but his header looped over the bar.
Platt then had to be in the right place at the other end when he got his head in the way of Louie Barry’s curling effort to send it wide after the Town winger had cut inside menacingly from the left flank.
Bluebirds centre-back Platt had an even better chance to open the scoring with 11 minutes on the clock when Robbie Gotts dangled a cross into the edge of the six-yard area but this time the header dropped wide.
The Robins should have gone in front on 17 minutes when Jack Payne raced in behind down the right-hand side and slipped the ball across for Josh Davison, but he inexplicably struck his shot from six yards straight at the grateful Paul Farman.
However, the home side did strike first midway through the first half when a ball in from Jonny Williams caused problems in the Barrow box and Davison was this time able to apply the decisive touch and prod it past the wrong-footed Farman.
Josh Kay was proving The Bluebirds’ best outlet up front, and he did well to engineer some space on the right of the area to fire a low cross into the front post where Rooney’s flick sent it into the side netting.
Swindon produced some great football cut Barrow open when Louis Reed fed the ball in behind for Mandela Egbo and he showed great vision to cut it back for the arriving Harry McKirdy, but he drilled wastefully over with the goal gaping.
The Robins could have doubled their lead within 30 seconds of the restart when McKirdy collected possession on the right corner of the box and showed great positivity to unleash a low strike across goal which went agonisingly wide of Farman’s far post.
Phil Brown opted to make a double change on 50 minutes with Joe Grayson and Ollie Banks introduced and the pair both had shots blocked within a minute of coming on before Kay’s follow-up flashed just wide of the post with keeper Lewis Ward looking beaten.
Barrow put together another good move down the right which ended with the ball being swept into the area and, when it was cleared, Rooney took a touch before sending a volley on goal which was gathered by Ward.
The dangerous Payne did brilliantly to slalom inside from the right for Town before lining up a shot on goal which was blocked well and fell wide of the near post as Barrow defended with determination.
Town were increasing the pressure though and McKirdy smashed an effort just over the bar before Farman had to rush from his line to make a big save from Louie Barry’s goalbound drive.
McKirdy had an even bigger chance to make it 2-0 when he evaded the offside trap and calmly dribbled around Farman only for Grayson to get back on the line and make a brilliant block at the front post.
Barrow were having to work hard to keep Town at bay, but they could have grabbed an equaliser on 75 minutes when they went racing forward on the counter and the ball found Rooney whose curling effort took a deflection and needed tipping over by the backtracking Ward.
The move inspired confidence in The Bluebirds and they came forward with menace again with eight minutes remaining and this time the ball was worked right for Remeao Hutton who came inside before curling an effort just over the bar.
Swindon didn’t heed the warning though and Barrow were level a minute later. Rooney’s delivery from a deep free kick found Platt at the far post and his downward header squirmed through Ward’s grasp and levelled the game up at 1-1.
However, the 223 travelling fans had hardly stopped celebrating when the hosts went back in front. A flowing move down the right saw the ball moved to the edge of the box for Reed and he drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner to restore The Robins’ lead.
Brown’s men continued to fight and nearly drew level again on 89 minutes when Kay got into space on the right of the area and drilled a low shot on goal which was excellently parried away by Ward.
Full Time: Swindon Town 2 Barrow 1
Swindon Town: Ward, Odimayo (O’Brien 90), Conroy, Baudry, Davison, Payne (Gladwin 88), McKirdy, Egbo, Barry, Williams (Aguiar 93), Reed.
Subs not used: Wollacott, Mitchell-Lawson, Parsons, Minturn.
Barrow: Farman, Brown (Grayson 50), Platt, Canavan, Brough, Hutton, Beadling (Banks 50), Rooney, Gotts (Williams 79), Kay, Gordon.
Subs not used: Lillis, White, Stevens.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Attendance: 13,355 (223 Barrow)