Bluebirds bank points as direct Devitt makes Newport pay.
Barrow AFC 2-1 Newport County
Jamie Devitt’s 84th minute free-kick against his former club saw Barrow come from behind to win for the first time this season, edging out Newport County at Holker Street.
Rob Kelly made three changes to his starting XI, as the Bluebirds looked to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, with Chris Taylor, Tom Beadling and Josh Kay dropping out to make way for Devitt, Ollie Banks and Luke James.
Barrow’s line-up suggested a more positive approach and had the first half-chance of the game, when Devitt curled an ambitious effort wide of the Newport goal.
Despite the Bluebirds having the first effort, it was the visitors who settled into the game quickest, making better use of the ball and making Barrow work hard to win it back.
The quick thinking Josh Sheehan flashed an opportunistic shot wide of goal, that had Joel Dixon scampering, before Padraig Amond cleared the bar with a scooped shot that was never troubling the Barrow keeper.
The Exiles took a deserved lead on 24 minutes, when the Barrow defence failed to deal with Matty Dolan’s free-kick and the ball fell for Scot Bennett to fire a shot that deflected into the bottom corner.
Barrow responded positively to the setback and should have been level three minutes later. A long throw from Bobby Thomas caused indecision, allowing James to pounce, only to see his shot blocked by a well positioned defender.
Aaron Lewis might have doubled Newport’s lead, but he missed the target after meeting Sheehan’s dangerous low ball, before Scott Quigley lashed over at the other end after he was released by a clever Devitt pass, while the Irishman was wayward with his own effort shortly before the break.
The Bluebirds started the second half in a much improved manner. James worked Nick Townsend at his near post with a low shot before the hosts drew themselves level ten minutes into the half.
Jason Taylor battled to win the ball in the centre of the pitch before splitting the Newport defence with a finely slid ball into the path of Quigley. Barrow’s top scorer kept a cool head to dummy and evade three sliding Exiles defenders before side-footing the ball low and into the bottom corner via a deflection.
The goal visibly boosted the Bluebirds and they should have taken the lead when Quigley again found himself through on goal, turning well and showing good strength to hold off the attentions of his marker, but his finish was too close to Townsend who saved well with his legs.
With Barrow in the ascendency, James Jones had a fine chance to put his side ahead when he could only direct the ball wide when he was in plenty of space in the area following a Devitt free kick.
Despite not having much to do in the second half, Dixon had to be alert to get down and keep out Sheehan’s low strike after the Barrow defence backed off and allowed him space to shoot following a twisting run.
The game looked to be finely balanced with it looking increasingly like the next goal would win it, and that proved to be the case four minutes from time.
Luke James was felled on the very edge of the Newport area, giving Devitt and Banks the chance to line up a free-kick just to the right of the County goal.
While Newport waited in expectation of a drive from Banks, Devitt deceived everyone by clipping a curling effort just inside Townsend’s near post to spark celebrations from Bluebirds players and staff alike.
The Exiles’ misery was compounded shortly before the final whistle, when Mickey Demetriou picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Kgosi Ntlhe, as the Bluebirds saw out the game for a massive three points.
Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; J.Jones, Thomas, Ntlhe; Barry, Devitt (Beadling 88), Banks, J.Taylor, Brough; James, Quigley. Subs not used: Moloney, Eardley, Kay, C.Taylor, Andrew.
Newport County (3-5-2): Townsend; Bennett (Collins 88), Dolan, Demetriou; Shephard, Labadie, Ledley (Ellison 88), Sheehan, Lewis; Amond (Maynard 76), Taylor (Scrimshaw 88). Subs not used: King, Longe-King, Hartigan.