Bluebirds soar to safety
Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Barrow AFC
Barrow AFC will be playing in League Two next season, after goals from Scott Quigley and Bobby Thomas gave Rob Kelly’s men a memorable win over Forest Green at The New Lawn.
Caretaker boss Kelly rang the changes after the lacklustre defeat at Tranmere, with Kgosi Ntlhe, Ollie Banks, Chris Taylor and Luke James making way for Neil Eardley, Jason Taylor and Calvin Andrew, while Connor Brown made his first Bluebirds start since January.
Despite being on a run of three consecutive defeats, Barrow started confidently and had the better of their promotion-chasing opponents for much of the first half, with Quigley hitting the side netting inside the opening 60 seconds.
The early pressure from the visitors was almost rewarded when Tom Beadling flicked Matty Platts header towards goal but was denied by the deftest of touches from goalkeeper Luke McGee.
McGee wouldn’t get anywhere near as close to the opening goal in the 17th minute, however, as Quigley sent him the wrong way from the spot after Thomas was felled by an innocuous looking tackle just inside the penalty area.
The goal helped the Bluebirds fully hit their stride, putting together a fine move as they went in search of a second. Platt swung the ball out to Brown with a raking diagonal pass to the right flank before the wing-back found Andrew. The imposing forward held the ball up superbly and fed it into the path of the onrushing Taylor, whose clean strike from 20 yards was only kept out by a fine stop from McGee.
It was only a matter of time before Barrow got their deserved second, though, and it came through the unlikely source of Burnley loanee Thomas. A half-cleared corner was swung back in by Eardley and attacked by Andrew, forcing McGee into a good reaction save, only to see the ball fall at the feet of the Barrow defender, who lashed it into the roof of the net for his first senior goal.
The home side rallied and should have halved the deficit shortly before half-time but Billy Cargill could only head wide when he should have done a lot better, while there was still time for Eardley to rattle the post with a free-kick at the other end.
The second half saw a more even contest, as the hosts looked to get back into the game, but it was Barrow who had the first chance of the half, although Thomas didn’t quite get enough power or direction on a header to trouble the Rovers goal.
A partial spectator for most of the game, Joel Dixon showed great concentration to come good when needed on the hour mark, denying Jake Young with an impressive fingertip save after the Forest Green man had found himself in space in the area.
The closing stages seemed to last an eternity for Barrow fans, as Rovers started to dominate play and put the Bluebirds defence under pressure. Kelly’s side stayed resolute, though, and shut the door on the home side to record one of the most important victories in the club’s history, sparking jubilant scenes on the pitch.
Forest Green Rovers (4-4-2): McGee; Bernard, Stokes (Evans 80), Godwin-Malife, , Cargill; Wagstaff (Davison 80), Moore-Taylor, Adams (Wilson 64), Young (Hutchinson 80); Bailey, Collins. Subs not used: Thomas, Allen, Richardson.
Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; Eardley, Platt, Thomas; Brown (Ntlhe 90), Barry (Devitt 64), Beadling, J.Taylor, Brough; Andrew (James 85), Quigley. Subs not used: Moloney, C.Taylor, Kay.