Phil Yelland dips into the archives to find out how Barrow have fared on previous trips to Crawley ahead of this weekend's League Two encounter.
Saturday will see us make our sixth trip to Broadfield Stadium to take on Crawley Town. Three of our previous visits took place when the National League was the Blue Square Premier, the other two occuring in Sky Bet League Two.
For Barrow, 2020's game was significant in that it proved to be David Dunn’s last in charge. Crawley won the game 4-2. There was a hat-trick for home striker Max Watters (no doubt helping to pave the way for his move to Cardiff City the following month), whilst our goals came from Josh Kay and Sam Hird – his first for the Club. Connor Brown also saw red with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Arguably 2021's game was equally as significant, as it proved to be a catalyst for Phil Brown's side to go three games unbeaten and secure Barrow's League Two safety.
Following the 1-0 defeat to Crawley last term, The Bluebirds would go on to hammer League leaders Forest Green Rovers 4-0 the next Saturday, be held to a 2-2 draw away at high-flying Salford City and then see victory over playoff-chasing Sutton United to ensure Barrow remained a Football League club.
Our first visit took place in October 2008 when we were hammered 4-0 and it could have been worse but for a fine performance by goalkeeper Alan Martin who was on loan from Leeds United at the time.
We travelled back to Sussex exactly one year later with hope of a good result rather than an expectation. We had won on the opening day of the season at Cambridge United but had failed to taste victory on the road in six matches since. However, a fine defensive performance was topped off with three points thanks to a late penalty from Jason Walker after home defender Karl Broadhurst had been sent-off for a foul that led to the spot kick.
Our most recent journey to Crawley before the return to the EFL came at the end of February 2011. The Sussex club, under Steve Evans, were pressing for what was ultimately to be the title and promotion to the Football League, whilst we were battling to get away from the relegation zone. The game was a five-goal thriller and Town included in their attack Richard Brodie – a popular player when on loan to us in 2008. Craig McAllister gave the home side an early lead, but Andy Cook produced the equaliser. Just before the half hour, Clark Masters brought down McAllister and Brodie restored Town’s lead from the spot.
However, three minutes before the interval Paul Rutherford scored an equaliser. We defended well in the second half but, with four minutes remaining, Pablo Mills headed home from close range to deny us a point. Crawley eventually took the championship that year with 105 points and having lost just three games all season.