Barrow’s season ended in home defeat as Northampton Town’s powerful first half hour proved the difference on the final day of 2021/22 at The Dunes Hotel Stadium.
The Cobblers were 3-0 up after a brilliant start to the game but Josh Kay pulled one back just before half time and things disintegrated for the visitors as results elsewhere left their automatic promotion hopes in the balance at the final whistle.
The visitors got off to the perfect start when they moved in front with just five minutes on the clock as Sam Hoskins was allowed enough space 20 yards out to curl an accurate shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
Barrow looked to respond and had shots blocked from Jordan Steven and John Rooney before the latter’s teasing cross to the far post skidded wide without anyone in blue able to apply a finishing touch.
Northampton doubled their advantage on 14 minutes when a right-wing corner was sent deep to the far post and defender Fraser Horsfall towered above everybody to head home from close range.
Remeao Hutton could have pulled one back almost immediately when he cut inside dangerously from the right only to drag his left-footed effort wide at the near post.
On 21 minutes, Town made it 3-0. Barrow’s defence was cut open with ease and Josh Eppiah laid the ball into the path of Hoskins who stroked home his second of the afternoon with ease.
Matt Platt had a chance from a corner but headed straight at Town keeper Liam Roberts, while Joe Grayson had to work hard to get back with a last-ditch challenge to prevent Appiah from making it 4-0 on the break.
Phil Brown’s men grabbed a lifeline on the stroke of half time when Josh Kay met Rooney’s left-wing corner and flicked a beautiful looping header over Roberts and into the far corner of the net and make it 3-1.
The Bluebirds came out full of intent at the start of the second half and Rooney had a shot blocked before there were convincing appeals for a penalty turned down after the ball seemed to strike Hoskins’ hand inside the area to block a Glennon cross.
They got even closer to pulling another goal back when Gordon got a firm contact on Glennon’s inswinging corner, but his header smashed back off the cross bar and Northampton survived.
The Cobblers got bad news from elsewhere and realised they needed another goal to secure promotion and almost got it when Hoskins got in at the far post, but his header was saved by Farman.
There was drama right on 90 minutes when a bouncing ball forward was misjudged by keeper Roberts who then chose to deliberately handle outside the area and was shown a straight red card as a result. Outfield player Danny Rose donned the gloves but was not drawn into action as Rooney’s free kick was blocked by the wall.
Kay could have netted a further consolation right at the death when he met a deep cross on the volley but he directed it just too high and the game finished 3-1.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Northampton Town 3
Barrow: Farman, Brown (J Jones 81), Platt, Canavan, Grayson, Hutton (Williams 69), Rooney, Gotts, Stevens (Glennon 35), Kay, Gordon.
Subs not used: Lillis, Taylor, White.
Booked: Kay, Grayson.
Northampton Town: Roberts, Sowerby, Guthrie, Horsfall, Hoskins, Pinnock, Koiki, McWilliams, Eppiah (Rose 62), Mills (Zimba 88), Appere (Kanu 81)mes Jo.
Subs not used: Maxted, Harriman, Pollock, Dyche.
Booked: Hoskins, Rose.
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 4,603 (575 Northampton Town)