Barrow 1 - 3 Grimsby Town
GRIMSBY Town recovered from a goal down to beat Barrow at Holker Street.
On a windy night in Cumbria, the hosts took the lead just after the half-hour when an Otis Khan corner found its way straight into the net.
But Town were only behind for five minutes before Padraig Amond struck the equaliser and moved himself onto 15 goals for the season.
Josh Gowling completed the turnaround by making it 2-1 on the hour and after that, the Mariners had chances to grab a third goal and put the result beyond doubt.
And that goal eventually came with five minutes remaining, as Amond netted for the second time in the game.
Three changes were made to the Town side that beat St Albans City in the FA Cup, with two enforced as Omar Bogle and Jon-Paul Pittman missed out through injury.
Their places were taken by Amond and Marcus Marshall, with Craig Disley returning from suspension to replace Scott Brown in the other alteration.
James McKeown started in goal, behind an unchanged defence of Richard Tait, Shaun Pearson, Gowling and Conor Townsend.
Nathan Arnold began on the right of midfield, with Disley partnering Craig Clay in the middle and Andy Monkhouse on the left, as Amond and Marshall formed the strike partnership.
Alex Jones, who joined on loan from Birmingham City earlier in the day, took a place among the Grimsby substitutes, along with Brown, Gregor Robertson, Toto Nsiala and Danny East.
Barrow were looking to bounce back from a 3-1 league defeat by Guiseley at the weekend and their side included former Mariner Andy Cook, while another ex-Town man was on the home bench in the shape of Simon Grand.
An early scare for Town came on three minutes when Gowling went down with an injury, although he was passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.
Grimsby were the better side in the early stages and they won a corner after good play by Townsend on eight minutes but were unable to make the opportunity from the flag count.
A further opening came through Disley four minutes later but the skipper could not hit the target with his shot after cutting inside.
Both sides were struggling with the windy conditions, although both were looking to attack where possible in search of an opening goal.
Cook was adjudged to have committed a foul as he headed wide from a free kick on 15 minutes, before another header from the striker was dealt with by Townsend four minutes later.
McKeown was called onto action for the first time to make a comfortable save from Niall Cowperthwaite on 21 minutes, then a Town corner at the other end was caught by home keeper Joel Dixon.
The hosts went close to breaking the deadlock soon afterwards, when Khan launched a dipping volley that saw McKeown have to scramble back to keep out on his line.
Barrow began to come into the game more and they took the lead from their first corner of the game, on the half-hour. KHAN was the man to swing the ball in from the flag and after it was missed by Jason Walker, it went straight into the net at the near post.
Town were not behind for long though, as they levelled the scores just five minutes later with a goal out of nothing. A long, diagonal ball was missed by defender Danny Livesey and after he slipped, AMOND took full advantage to let the ball bounce and then slam it past Dixon for 1-1.
The visitors had reacted well to falling behind and got themselves level and that was the way it remained at the break, with neither side able to seriously trouble the opposing defence over the remaining 10 minutes of the half and the two minutes of added time.
Grand replaced Steve Williams as the hosts made the game’s first substitution before the restart.
And Barrow had the first attacking opportunity of the second half, when Andy Haworth worked his way into the box but was blocked by Gowling, at the expense of a corner.
Town cleared the danger from the flag and launched an attack of their own, although they could not make it count.
A shout from the Town fans came when they thought Dixon had handled the ball outside his penalty area but the referee ruled no infringement had taken place.
At the other end, a Town free kick was hit over the bar by Townsend, before a shot from Clay also missed the target with 57 minutes on the clock.
Grimsby’s first corner of the half came just before the hour and after Disley headed it back across the face of goal, it was cleared for another corner. This time, the Mariners made it count and after Disley again sent the ball back across goal, GOWLING was there to head it into the net on the hour.
Barrow’s response was to attack straight from the kick-off but after the ball was played through to Cook, he did not manage to get a shot away and Gowling stepped in to ensure the Town lead remained intact.
The Mariners could have stretched their lead on 64 minutes, when they attacked through Tait and Arnold. It was Arnold who eventually shot but his effort took a touch off a home defender, which took it out for a corner.
From the flag, the away side had another chance to score a third goal but Gowling’s header hit the side-netting.
At the other end, a Barrow free kick was met by Cook at the far post but his header looped over the bar.
A foul by George Williams on Townsend earned the Barrow man the first yellow card of the game and from the resulting free kick, the ball was played low to Monkhouse but his shot fizzed just wide.
A handball by Dave Symington brought about another Town free kick and after Amond flicked it on to Arnold, his cross found Clay but the midfielder’s effort was blocked.
Walker was replaced by Elliot Newby for Barrow with 13 minutes to go, while East came on for Arnold and Jones took the place of Marshall at the same time for the Mariners.
Town were in control of the game as the clock ticked towards the 85-minute mark and they made sure of the points with a third goal. Jones picked out AMOND and he passed the ball beyond keeper Dixon to make it 3-1.
The Mariners comfortably saw out the remainder of the game, including four added minutes, before they were able to celebrate an excellent away victory.
Town are next in action on Saturday, when Welling United are the visitors to Blundell Park