Gateshead 0 Barrow AFC 2

The 2018/19 season is in the books for Barrow AFC and they haven’t had as many comfortable games as this one at Gateshead, where they signed off with an almost effortless victory.

‘Almost’ because that would do a disservice to how well they played in the first half, where they picked up where they left off against Hartlepool and could have added to John Rooney’s brilliantly-taken double.

It did feel a little too easy at times, however, with Gateshead’s players understandably looking demotivated by the dire situation their club finds itself in.

It’s hard in any line of work to get up for doing your job when you’ve been repeatedly paid late by your employers and have been shut out of your workplace, matchdays aside, because payments haven’t been made to the council that owns it.

Listening before kick-off to the latest at the Heed, whose owner Dr Ranjan Varghese bizarrely appointed two new directors on Friday night despite a badly-needed takeover being in the pipeline, made you appreciate how smooth the change of ownership at AFC was during the autumn.

There were protests from fed-up home fans before and during the game and this occasionally made the football feel like a bit of an afterthought.

One man who made sure all eyes were on him, however, was Rooney.

The midfielder reached double figures for the season by scoring twice in the first 22 minutes, picking out pretty much the same spot in the net for both.

Rooney (yes, we know, famous surname etc) is a player who has plenty of ability in his own right and he showed that to the full, as Gateshead twice gave him all the time in the world to pick his place.

He actually admitted after the game that his short-corner routine with Lewis Hardcastle that led to Barrow’s first goal, after eight minutes, didn’t go according to plan.

However, it didn’t matter, as the home side stood off both before Rooney received the ball back and curled in a wonderful strike.

Barring the fact that it was from closer in, Rooney’s second was almost a carbon copy in terms of the finish, which came after a great burst and backheel into his teammate’s path by Jack Hindle.

Had his 34-minute free kick found the top corner rather than the cross bar, Rooney would have had a brilliant hat-trick, and may even have left Hindle sweating on whether he’d finish as the Bluebirds’ top scorer.

As it is, Hindle’s dozen has left him at the top of the charts and the front three of him, Jamie Philpot and Josh Kay had a field day against Gateshead’s back three in the first half.

In truth, the second 45 minutes was something of a non-event, barring a red card for the hosts’ Tom White, for a silly bit of dissent, and a glaring headed miss late on by Steve Rigg.

The lead was never threatened, meaning Barrow end the season with the impressive stat that they’ve only been beaten twice on the road since somehow failing to get anything out their trip to Ebbsfleet on November 3.

It also means that with two impressive displays in the final week, they have momentum going into pre-season and a great base to build on for Ian Evatt, who has done so much to reinvigorate the team in his first-ever season as a manager. Roll on 2019/20.