BARROW AFC 3 (Livesey 44, Cook 61, Tomlinson 67) ALTRINCHAM 2 (Sinnott 19, Lawrie 69)

BARROW AFC came to life in spectacular style after a 40-minute slumber to take all three points from Altrincham at Holker Street.

For the first half, the hosts were often on the back foot against visitors scrapping to get out of the relegation zone and giving everything they could to claim victory.

They were 1-0 up through Jordan Sinnott’s stunning free-kick on 19 minutes and saw Scott Leather hit the post from close-range before Barrow started to kick into gear.

Danny Livesey netted the equaliser before the break, but it was the introduction of Alex-Ray Harvey in place of the injured Andy Parry at half-time which truly started to turn the tide.

Harvey battled away and took his first chance of the year with both hands, helping AFC to control the vast majority of the second half, with Andy Cook and Ben Tomlinson netting the goals which eventually assured victory.

They are a crucial three points in the Barrow bank, lifting them within four of the magic 50-mark generally considered to guarantee National League safety, and 11 clear of the relegation zone, with 10 matches left to climb higher.

Climbing the table was far from the minds of anyone watching a first half which occasionally approached the levels of mundanity seen in the goalless draw against Boreham Wood four days earlier.

Altrincham were the team who looked most likely, displaying the determination of a side who dropped into the relegation zone in midweek and wanting to climb out at the first opportunity.

Cook did fire over after good work to create an opening on the right by Jordan Williams, but that was the only chance for either side before the Robins took the lead.

Andy Parry brought down James Lawrie as he skipped across the 18-yard line and threatened to find an opening.

It was a foul which was to prove costly as Jordan Sinnott – son of Lee, who was axed as Altrincham boss in midweek – fired in a wicked free-kick from the right channel, which arced over the wall and left Joel Dixon with no chance as it hit the back of the net at the far post.

The goal was the least the visitors deserved, the home side’s efforts best summed up as Paddy Lacey – back in the team for the first time since November – scuffed a 30-yard free-kick along the ground. It somehow went through the wall and fell to Simon Grand, who found himself with acres of space and time. He snatched as his effort and it went well wide, though an offside flag spared him some blushes.

Altrincham came close to a second as Joshua Ginnelly put in a cross which was headed down by Gianluca Havern in the direction of Scott Leather. He reacted instinctively and redirected the ball towards goal, watching as it hit the post and was cleared.

Barrow created some half-chances, Cook heading a Williams cross wide with the most obvious, but a head injury to former Bluebird Marcus Holness was to prove costly for Alty.

They were down to 10 men while he was off the pitch having his cut bandaged – returning in the second half with a touch of Terry Butcher about his headwear – and Williams came close to striking.

He took the ball past three defenders from halfway and saw his first shot blocked by Leather. The ball came back to him and, from 18 yards, he looped a lovely effort towards the top of the goal, only for Tim Deasy – still well-respected by many in these parts for his time at Holker Street – to go at full stretch, reach back and tip it over the bar.

Deasy was not so good from the resulting corner, though, watching as Williams’ ball came across his goal-line and was stabbed in by Livesey near the far post.

Somehow Barrow, who had been lethargic and tired for the first 45 minutes, were level at the break.

They looked better after it, with Harvey taking the place of the injured Parry and helping to give impetus in the middle of the park in his first game of the year.

Grand headed a floated Michael Donohue free-kick softly at Deasy and Dixon denied Sinnott a second with another fine free-kick, which was curled over the wall and towards the corner of the net before the AFC man got across to turn it behind.

Grand missed another Donohue free-kick as he looked to be pulled back – this time the offside flag saving Altrincham from potential calamity – before a flurry of three goals in eight minutes lit up the game.

Firstly, Cook was played through down the left channel and used his upper-body strength to hold off his man and make it into the area.

From there, he picked his spot and slotted past Deasy to give AFC the lead.

There should have been another goal within 90 seconds as Williams flicked on a Donohue cross to Cook, who volleyed back across goal, but Deasy made a terrific stop. The ball came to Williams, who had power behind his effort, but Deasy showed superb reactions to get back up and block that effort as well.

Deasy stopped another close-range Cook effort minutes later, but this time he could only loop the ball to the back post, where an unmarked Tomlinson headed in.

A two-goal cushion should have seen Barrow home, but they were quickly pegged back as Lawrie fired in a superb shot from 20 yards across the face of goal and beyond Dixon from nothing.

That made for a tense closing 25 minutes, but unlike on occasions earlier in the season Barrow held firm.

They created some near-chances themselves, but did not get carried away pushing forward looking for a fourth, instead happy to settle for the 3-2 victory which had seemed so unlikely in the first half.

Four games unbeaten and a healthy 11 points above the relegation zone, all in all this was a good afternoon for the Bluebirds.

Barrow AFC (4-4-2): Joel Dixon, Ritchie Sutton, Nick Wilmer-Anderton, Danny Livesey, Simon Grand, Paddy Lacey, Andy Parry (Alex-Ray Harvey h/t), Michael Donohue (Dan Pilkington 66), Ben Tomlinson, Andy Cook, Jordan Williams.

Substitutes: Andy Haworth, Jason Walker, Steve Williams.

Yellow Cards: Andy Parry 18, Simon Grand 55, Ben Tomlinson 82.

Altrincham (4-4-1-1): Tim Deasy, Jordan Sinnott, Adam Griffin, Scott Leather (Ryan Crowther 67), Marcus Holness, Gianluca Havern, Jake Moult, Simon Richman, Joshua Ginnelly (George Bowerman 84), James Lawrie, Damian Reeves.

Substitutes: Sam Heathcote, Josh O’Keefe, Callum Williams.

Yellow Cards: Scott Leather 38, Joshua Ginnelly 75, Marcus Holness 78, Damian Reeves 82.

Referee: Jason Whiteley.

Attendance: 1,019.