GLOUCESTER CITY 1
CHANGE does have an effect on Skrill North fortunes – Gloucester City’s problem was that Barrow are about a month further down the evolutionary chain than the Tigers.
Rock bottom before Christmas the Cumbrians rang the changes and now sit on an 11-match unbeaten run that has yielded 29 points.
City will have to take heart from that run and the positives that can come with change, because they were unable to take any points from their first game in a weather battered month.
Goals from Sam Sheridan, Nick Rushton and Danny O'Donnell cancelled out Charlie Griffin’s first in yellow black as an unfamiliar Tigers struggled against a side brimming with confidence.
It was no surprise that it took much-changed City time to warm to their task after precisely a month out of action, but after 21 minutes of acclimatisation Griffin introduced himself to the City fans.
The former Forest Green and Stevenage striker has made a career of being a Jonny-on-the-spot when crosses are flung into the box, and so it proved at his 14th different club.
Marcus Giglio was the provider from out wide on the left with a fantastic curling delivery that was effortlessly dispatched into the top corner with a strong header.
But the lead was short-lived as a poor punch by loan goalkeeper Stuart Moore from a looping ball fell at the feet of Sheridan at a seemingly impossible angle.
But the Barrow man was not put off and he lashed an unstoppable shot in to the corner of the net to draw the visitors level.
If Moore had been disappointed in his efforts leading up to the goal, he responded with a fine save to deny Sheridan a second on 28 minutes as he got a solid hand to a low shot from 20yards.
Former Forest Green forward was denied twice more by the Reading youngster before the first half was out as the teenager from the Isle of White bounced back well from his earlier error.
While Barrow ended the first half the better side, City were the quicker out of the blocks at the start of the second with two glorious chances to retake the lead coming and going.
First, Griffin headed inches wide from a Lewis Hogg cross after Tony McMillan in the Barrow goal was guilty of a poor punch after another teasing Giglio delivery.
Then Darren Mullings went even closer after his flicked-effort from a Hogg corner beat McMillan but was cleared off the line by Andy Burns.
Barrow would make them pay, but not before O'Donnell - twice - and Marsh were guilty of headed misses, while Richard Davies fired wide from distance.
The visitors got the goal their dominance deserved after 63 minutes with Sheridan threading the needle with a superb pass through to Rushton, who dinked a neat finish over a helpless Moore.
Despite being given the rare luxury of options from the bench, City struggled to gain any headway against a blue and wide tide.
Substitute Gareth Arnison seemed set to score with his first touch, only to be denied by a desperate last-ditch tackle from Jack Harris.
Moore then denied fellow sub Ted Cribley with a good block with his legs and then Rushton with a stupendous reaction stop as his copybook read firmly in the positive by the end of the game.
But not even Moore could do anything about Danny O’Donnell’s header from the resulting corner as Barrow easily wrapped up their eighth consecutive away win.
Gloucester City: S Moore; D Mullings, M Coupe, J Harris; L Hogg, T Webb, J Goddard (MF Green 65), M Giglio (M Groves 72); A Mann; C Waldon (N Jarvis 72), C Griffin.
Subs not used: MJ Green, J Parker.
Barrow: T McMillian; D O’Donnell, R Williams, D Reynolds; A Burns, A Harvey, R Davies, S Sheridan (T Cribley 80), N Cowperthwaite; N Rushton (D Parkinson 88), P Marsh (G Arnison 75).
Subs not used: T Cribley, T Corner, L Willis.
Referee: J Brooks
Star man: Stuart Moore – Countless fantastic saves from the Reading youngster kept the scoreline respectable as Barrow laid siege on the City goal.