GOAL king Cole Stockton netted a first-half double as Barrow kept on course for a first ever appearance in a Football League play-off.

And automatic promotion remains a possibility if the Cumbrians can take their unbeaten record in March into the final month of the season.

Just over 4,000 were inside Holker Street to see Stockton net the sixth and seventh goals of his Bluebirds career.

And while the second-half performance wasn’t picture perfect, Pete Wild’s side ensured a priceless victory nine minutes from time when Robbie Gotts scored his second goal of the season.

Barrow now travel to Morecambe on Easter Monday, where they will be backed by nearly 2,000 fans-on a six-game unbeaten record which has yielded 14 points. 

After an even start when both sides won early corners Barrow hit the front.

Ben Whitfield had already cut in from the left to  shoot low, with a shot Harvey Cartwright saved by his near post.

But Cartwright was given no chance after 10 minutes. Whitfield’s first cross was cut out, his second fell at the feet of Stockton who passed into the goal.

Barrow looked to have more goals in them, and Tyrell Warren’s superb cross was powerfully headed down by Stockton. Goalie Cartwright did well to save in the greasy conditions.

That second goal came after 22 minutes. Telford did all the hard work with a jinking run.

The striker’s shot was blocked on the line, but the ball broke to Stockton to steer into the unguarded net.

Grimsby were forced into a 30th minute substitute with injured Arthur Gnahoua replaced by Donovan Wilson.

Whitfield flashed another effort narrowly wide as Barrow looked for a third match-clinching goal.

Stockton’s search for a hat-trick saw him head wide from Whitfield’s free kick at the start of the second half.

Grimsby though still carried a threat as Doug Tharne rose unchallenged to meet a corner, but fortunately for the home side couldn’t find the target.

Skipper Curtis Thompson was replaced after 68 minutes by Jamie Andrews, while Mariners boss Dave Artell was booked for arguing with referee Oliver Langford.

Mr Langford’s first yellow was quickly followed by his second as Telford went into the book for a sliding challenge.

Warren, Stockton and Foley then made way-possibly with Monday’s trip to Morecambe in mind- for David Worrall, Emile Acquah and Sam Foley.

Barrow survived a scare with 18 minutes remaining as Kieran Green’s header hit Paul Farman’s near post.

Whitfield also found the woodwork with a curling right foot effort that proved his last involvement before being replaced by Elliot Newby.

And nine minutes from time Gotts sealed the three points with a well struck low shot from the edge of the area. 

Cartwright then beat away a Foley piledriver, but Barrow’s clean sheet was wrecked when a fortunate ricochet landed at the feet of Justin Obikwu who drilled the ball home.