Fans returned to Barrow AFC's Holker Street home for the first time in nine months and were in full voice despite the result.

Matches have been played behind closed doors since football resumed in summer, but up to 2,000 people are now allowed at matches in areas – such as Barrow – that are subject to Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.

And the 819 fans who were back at the ground on Saturday made themselves heard, even though the game ended in a 1-0 defeat to Salford City.

Many of those in attendance had never before seen the Bluebirds, who were promoted to League 2 at the end of last season, play a football league match at Holker Street. Those that had, had waited more than 48 years.

The exit from the ground was staggered at the end of the match. As they filed out, some fans told The Mail what it felt like to be back.

John Barker said: “It was fantastic. It was absolutely fantastic. There’s no other word for it.

“It was great to be back. We [the team] were unlucky again.”

John Jacques, head steward at Barrow AFC, paid tribute to the fans, who he said had ‘done themselves proud’.

“They have been fantastic,” he said. “They have adhered to all the rules.

“They have understood the regulations that are in place. There’s been no arguments at all. They have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

Fan Andy McGrady added: “They have controlled it really well. It’s good to be back.”

After the game, Bluebirds manager David Dunn shone light on the benefit of having fans once again pushing the team on from the stands.

“It was great to have the fans back because it gave us a massive lift, especially when we’ve not been on the best of runs,” he said.

“It was fantastic to have that bit of noise and I really appreciate the support they gave us today – I am just sad and disappointed we couldn’t give them something to go home with.”

Barrow were arguably the better team on the day, but ultimately fell to defeat at the hands of a goal from Ash Hunter, leaving them 21st in the table.