Barrow’s biggest home league crowd in over 50 years was left disappointed as Carlisle United took the derby day honours at The Dunes Hotel Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Jordan Gibson and Kristian Dennis did the damager for the visitors, with Ollie Banks’ strike proving mere consolation for The Bluebirds in the end.
An attendance of 4,658 – the largest home league turnout since Boxing Day 1969 – saw Mark Cooper make one change to his starting line-up, as Tom White returned in place of the suspended Tom Beadling in midfield.
A tense start saw few good opportunities in the opening stages as both sides competed with a swirling wind which made things difficult.
Joe Riley’s speculative long-range effort went well over the bar, before Josh Gordon glanced a header wide at the front post after a great delivery from Patrick Brough on the left.
Carlisle suffered a blow when skipper Callum Guy was forced off through injury on 19 minutes and they had to work hard to prevent falling behind moments later when good work from Robbie Gotts set up Josh Gordon, whose shot was well blocked.
Jack Armer’s cross from the left got caught in the wind and almost caused an issue for Paul Farman at his back post but the Bluebirds keeper adjusted to palm the ball over the bar.
On 32 minutes though, Farman was beaten. Barrow struggled to clear on the left of their area and, when the ball sat kindly for Jordan Gibson, the Carlisle man drilled a sweet strike across the keeper and into the far corner of the net for 1-0.
Brennan Dickenson could have doubled the lead five minutes before the break as Barrow struggled to regain their composure, but the midfielder’s shot did not match his weaving run and went over the bar.
Barrow had their biggest opportunity just before the break when a free kick was nodded down into the area and found its way through to Patrick Brough at the far post, but he was denied by a wonderful point blank save from Mark Howard.
The Bluebirds began the second half with greater purpose and could have been back on level terms when John Rooney’s free kick from the right found Matt Platt, but his stooping header crashed out off the bar with Howard completely beaten.
Barrow kept the pressure on, and a wicked right-wing corner from Anthony Glenon also caused panic in the Carlisle area only to flash across goal without anyone able to divert it goalwards.
Brough’s excellent delivery then created another chance for Aaron Amadi-Holloway who got up highest to glance a header on goal, but it dropped wide of the far post.
Carlisle held firm in the face of Barrow’s pressure though and forged further ahead on 75 minutes when a ball forward was chased down by Kristian Dennis to nip in and knock the ball beyond Farman and make it 2-0.
It looked like that would be that, but The Bluebirds grabbed a goal back on 78 minutes when Mark Howard failed to fully deal with Rooney’s corner from the left and Ollie Banks lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Banks tried to double up when Barrow were awarded a free kick 30 yards out and the skipper unleased a low drive which was pushed round the post by Howard at full stretch down to his right.
Cooper’s men continued to probe for a way through but were held at bay by their visitors who held on for their fifth win in six games under new boss Paul Simpson.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Carlisle United 2
Barrow: Farman, Gotts, Platt, Canavan, Brough, Glennon (Hutton 72), Banks, White (Stevens 72), Rooney, Amadi-Holloway (Sea 76), Gordon.
Subs: J Jones, Taylor, Wakeling.
Booked: Farman, Rooney.
Carlisle United: Howard, Armer (Devine 59), Simeu, Riley, Guy (Whelan 19), Dickenson, Mellish, Feeney, Gibson, Patrick, Dennis.
Subs: Breeze, McDonald, Alessandra, Sho-Silva, Omotoye.
Booked: Mellish, Dennis, Dickenson.
Referee: Robert Madley
Attendance: 4,658 (612 Carlisle United)