Barrow were unable to put a stop to Mansfield Town’s brilliant form as The Stags clinched their seventh successive League Two win at The Dunes Hotel Stadium on Saturday.
The Bluebirds fought back to get back on level terms through James Jones after a disastrous start which saw Nigel Clough’s visitors in front through Rhys Oates within a minute.
Town retook the lead but were reduced to ten men just before the break when Farrend Rawson saw red but despite dominating possession in the second half, Barrow couldn’t find a leveller and Mansfield secured the points when Jordan Bowery powered home a header on 68 minutes.
The visitors made an electric start to the game as Rhys Oates charged forward direct from kick-off to then drill a low shot on goal in the first ten seconds which Paul Farman turned round the post.
However, Town were in front from the resultant corner when Farrend Rawson flicked the ball on at the near post and Oates guided home a header from close range with just 40 seconds on the clock.
After that, The Stags continue to play with real tempo and menace, and it took Mark Cooper’s men a little while to clear their heads and begin to get a foothold in the game.
It looked like The Bluebirds might have got back on level terms on 13 minutes when Luke James glanced Tom White’s cross into the net, but the flag was up against the front man and the celebrations were cut short.
However, the crowd were given a moment to cheer on 17 minutes when the returning Robbie Gotts whipped a dangerous corner in from the left and James Jones’ got the run on his man to send a powerful header into the net via the far post.
The Bluebirds gained confidence from the leveller and remained on the front foot after the goal but almost got caught on the break when Oates again carried the ball menacingly, this time cutting in from the right before seeing a powerful shot pushed away by Farman.
Town then went back in front with 25 minutes on the clock and again it came from a left wing corner which Barrow only half cleared and Stephen McLaughlin unleashed an unstoppable drive from just inside the area to make it 2-1.
McLaughlin almost doubled his tally and increased Mansfield’s lead when he found space for another powerful drive which squirmed past Farman only for Patrick Brough to be well-placed to clear off the line.
There was a potentially pivotal moment six minute before the break when Farrend Rawson, already on a yellow card, chopped down James as he tried to run clear with the ball. The referee had no choice but to send the defender off as he completed an unwanted double having also seen red against The Bluebirds in the home fixture back in October.
With ten men, Mansfield were happy to sit behind the ball in the second half and that allowed Barrow plenty of possession as they looked to probe for a route through their resolute visitors.
The lively Hutton on the right looked a constant threat and he almost helped unlock the door when he got to the byline and aimed a cut back towards Will Harris which was cleared, and Gotts could only fire over from the rebound.
The visitors held Barrow at bay and then increased their lead midway through the second half when a free kick was delivered from the left and Jordan Bowery got up highest to power and unstoppable header past Farman to make it 3-1.
Mark Cooper responded by throwing on Jacob Wakeling and Josh Kay, and the latter came close to finding a way through when he jinked into the box on the left but his low ball across was snatched by keeper Bishop with Jamie Devitt ready to pounce.
The day was perhaps summed up in the final minutes when Glennon’s right-wing corner was met by Brough, but his looping header dropped on to the top of the cross bar and went behind before Platt then also saw his injury time header hit the woodwork on its way over.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Mansfield Town 3
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, J Jones, Platt, Brough, Glennon, White (Devitt 62), Banks, Gotts (Kay 72), Harris, James (Wakeling 72).
Subs not used: Lillis, Brown, Stevens.
Booked: White, Banks, Kay.
Mansfield Town: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Rawson, Bowery, Maris (Lapslie 71), Hawkins, Quinn (Charsley 78), Oates (Akins 78), Stirk, O’Toole.
Subs not used: Stech, Nartey, Johnson, Law.
Booked: Rawson, Hawkins, Stirk.
Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 3,224 (358 Mansfield Town)