Phil Yelland takes a closer look at Tranmere's record on previous visits to Barrow ahead of Thursday's encounter at the SO Legal Stadium.
This Thursday marks the 54th game in all competitions between the teams on Barrow’s home turf and the 108th competitive meeting in all.
The first time the teams collided was in the Lancashire Combination League Division Two back in the 1910/11 season. We had won 4-0 at Prenton Park in September before Rovers visited us the following April and we ran out 3-1 winners to complete the double.
Whilst we had to wait some time for an emphatic win over Rovers at home, arrived in February 1957 when we scored five times without reply. There was a hat-trick for Billy Gordon supplemented by efforts from Bill Ormond and Brian Birch. However, Rovers got their revenge the following season when they won 4-1 at our place in our final Football League fixture to be played on Christmas Day. Billy Gordon scored the consolation goal. Rovers also won by three clear goals in our opening home game of the 1969/70 season which was to end in relegation for us.
In the 1960s, the clubs were fierce rivals and won promotion together from Division Four in 1967. Rovers finished fourth, one place and one point behind Barrow. The home encounter in October 1966 finished without a goal but we won the return at Prenton Park 2-1.
We have met in the National League, FA Cup and FA Trophy in more recent times. Our most recent clash came in January 2018 when a Byron Harrison penalty gave us an early lead which we held on to until injury time when James Norwood equalised. The Rovers side that day included three former Bluebirds in Steve McNulty, Andy Cook and one-time loanee Richie Sutton.
The previous season we defeated Rovers on home soil, both in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round in October 2016 and the League. Richie Bennett gave us the lead in the FA Cup tie before Moussa Diarra put through his own goal to level things. Paul Turnbull struck a second half winner as we embarked on a run that ended with a Third Round defeat at home to Rochdale. The League game in March 2017 saw a similar score, with Cook giving Rovers a first half lead before Jordan Williams and Inih Effiong nettd our winner.
However, probably the most dramatic game at Holker Street took place in January 2016 and fans who were there will still have nightmares about it. We trailed to a first half Adam Mekki penalty before levelling with a spot-kick of our own from Jason Walker. A Simon Grand effort and a goal from Andy Cook then put us 3-1 clear with just three minutes of normal time left. On 90 minutes Lois Maynard pulled a goal back. Jeff Hughes equalised two minutes later, and Jake Kirby scored the winner for Rovers six minutes into stoppage time.
In 2020, the game here took place in late December and was the last game which fans were allowed to watch before the COVID-19 restrictions on spectators were reintroduced. Honours finished even with Scott Quigley equalising a James Vaughan strike in the first half as Harrison Biggins saw red for The Bluebirds.
Last season saw the points shared once more, as an Ollie Banks penalty ensured Mark Cooper's side got something from the game.
Of previous meetings between the clubs here, we have won 26, there have been 16 draws and we have lost 11 times.
Let’s hope this weekend brings win number 27 and we can extend our current five match unbeaten home run against Rovers.