Barrow couldn’t quite complete a comeback to take a point at Rodney Parade on Saturday as they were made to pay for a nightmare start during which Newport County scored twice in 13 minutes.
The Exiles were able to open their doors to fans for the first time since before Christmas, but it looked as though the floodgates may open too as Dom Telford helped himself to a quickfire brace for the hosts.
However, Barrow rallied and grew into the game, grabbing a precious goal back just after the hour to provide hope of a fightback but the home side held firm to record their fourth successive win and maintain their place inside League Two’s top three.
Mark Cooper chose to make four changes to his starting line-up as Aaron Amadi-Holloway was handed a debut against his former club after arriving on loan from Burton Albion, while Tom Beadling, Anthony Glennon and Luke James were all restored to the eleven.
However, it was the home side – playing in front of supporters for the first time in more than a month – who got off to the perfect start. Barrow failed to deal with a ball into the box which was flicked on towards the dangerous Dom Telford and he hooked home the opening goal with less than two minutes on the clock.
The goal rocked The Bluebirds, and it was the hosts who continued to look the more dangerous, counter attacking with ruthless precision to make it 2-0 with just 13 minutes gone as this time Telford was afforded the space to move the ball onto his left foot on the edge of the area before rifling an unstoppable shot high past Paul Farman.
County’s top scorer could even have claimed the match ball five minutes later when he received the ball just inside the box and wriggled towards goal but Farman did enough to force him away from goal and the keeper gleefully pounced on the follow-up shot from Finn Azaz.
Barrow finally started showing signs of recovering their composure as the midway point of the first half passed and the lively Remeao Hutton struck the first effort on goal, but his 25-yard drive went wide of the left-hand post.
Anthony Glennon was having some joy down the left flank and got free to deliver a deep cross for the arriving Amadi-Holloway, but the debutant could only nod his effort wide of the upright under pressure from a defender.
Ollie Banks then tried to get things moving when he fed the ball into Luke James on the edge of the box and then claimed the return pass before stabbing a 20-yard effort on goal which took a deflection and dropped wide.
Cooper’s men were enjoying more possession now and came closest of all to pulling a goal back on 38 minutes when Hutton again did well down the right to find an angle to whip an inviting cross into the front post which was met by Amadi-Holloway only for keeper Nick Townsend to make an excellent reaction save.
County almost had a third on 44 minutes when they once again swept forward at pace and the ball was slipped into Telford on the edge of the box but this time he shanked a right-foot shot across goal and well wide.
Banks then sent a testing delivery into the far post from a left-wing free kick in first half stoppage time which went agonisingly beyond everyone in blue and dropped wide.
Barrow made a change at half time with Connor Brown coming on in place of Matt Platt and they came out looking brighter at the start of the second half.
Some good football down the right saw The Bluebirds work a crossing opportunity which was cleared only as far as the arriving Glennon, but his well-struck low shot was blocked.
County were happy to let Barrow dictate possession the opening exchanges of the second period, but they still retained a threat on the break and could have made it 3-0 on 56 minutes when former Bluebird Courtney Baker-Richardson drove clear on goal only for Farman to save well with his feet.
On 63 minutes, Barrow got the lifeline they were hoping for. Glennon flashed a dangerous cross into the box from the left, County didn’t deal with it and keeper Townsend could only palm it out into the legs of defender Jason Demetriou and it ended up ricocheting into the net for 2-1.
The goal brought the hosts out of their shell a little and they began to have more of the ball themselves though there was little in the way of presentable opportunities to score.
An optimistic shout for a penalty as new signing Rob Street went to ground was waved away by the referee, while Farman had to make a decent save to deny Oliver Cooper’s shot from the edge of the box.
There was a great chance for Banks with three minutes remaining when he got on the end of a brilliant delivery from Brough, but the skipper’s header flashed wide of the post.
Just seconds later, Beadling found himself in space 25 yards out and decided to try his luck, but he dragged the effort wide of the post as County were made to hang on a little in the closing stages to secure the three points.
Full Time: Newport County 2 Barrow 1
Newport County: Townsend, Norman, Haynes, Clarke, Baker-Richardson (Street 76), Bennett, Azaz, Telford (Dolan 89), Cain (Willmott 65), Demetriou, Cooper.
Subs not used: Day, Lewis, Collins, Waite.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, J Jones, Platt (Brown 46), Brough, Glennon, Banks, White (Harris 87), Beadling, Amadi-Holloway, James.
Subs not used: Ntlhe, Devitt, Williams, Wakeling.
Booked: Brough, Banks, Brown, Hutton, Glennon.
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 4,080 (73 Barrow)