Louis Reed opened his account for the season with an early penalty which proved decisive as Swindon got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing Barrow in challenging weather conditions.
After an early morning pitch inspection and another at midday, the game was finally given the go ahead by referee Rob Lewis after some concern amidst the recent cold snap.
Town boss, Scott Lindsey, made just the one change to his starting eleven ahead of the clash, with Angus MacDonald marking his long-awaited return from injury by taking back the captains armband and replacing Ciaran Brennan.
With goals something Swindon have found relatively hard to come by of late, the 171 visiting Town fans, who had made the 187-mile trip to the SO Legal Stadium, were made to wait just six minutes to see their side take the lead and break their baron spell.
A costly slip at the back by Tyrell Warren under pressure from both Jonny Williams and Jacob Wakeling forced him to play a loose ball back to his keeper Paul Farman, but his heavy touch saw the latter sneak in and look to steal the ball, with the stopper adjudged to bring him down in the area.
Referee Rob Lewis pointed to the spot, and Louis Reed stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, sending Farman the wrong way, and it was the perfect start for Town.
And it almost got better three minutes later as Swindon almost doubled their advantage.
Marcel Lavinier cut in cleverly from the left and struck a dangerous, curling effort on goal towards the right post, but Farman did well to repel the effort at full stretch.
Town’s bright start had stunned the hosts, and they continued to struggle to get a foothold in the game.
On fourteen minutes, Jacob Wakeling tried his luck from distance, collecting the ball inside the Barrow half after more sloppiness from Pete Wild’s side, and his low strike was well saved again by the busy Farman as he got down low to his right to push it away.
The impressive Louis Reed was causing Barrow all sorts of problems, and he could have claimed a first-half brace on twenty-two minutes following good build-up play from Town on the edge of the Barrow area.
The midfielder found himself with the ball at his feet inside the box, but after twisting and turning, he was unable to get any power on his shot and Farman scooped it up easily.
Town’s dominant display showed no signs of letting up, much to the frustrations of the home following, and Tyrese Shade tested the reflexes of Paul Farman once again as we reached the half hour mark.
The energetic attacker did well to create space for himself with some fancy footwork on the edge of the box before shooting low with his left, but Farman produced an impressive one-handed save to divert the ball round his near post.
The home fans were made to wait until the thirty-seventh minute to see their side create their first opportunity on goal, as George Ray connected with a looping corner on the right, but he failed to get any direction on the effort and it wasn’t troubling Sol Brynn.
A minute later, Ellis Iandolo setup Jacob Wakeling with a low cross fizzed across the box, but the forward, striking first time, sent the chance high and wide.
Town ended the first period a goal to the good, limiting Barrow to just the one chance, and it could have been far more with an impressive and dominant showing.
The second half started at a frenetic pace as both sides looked to make their mark on the tie, with chances for each in the opening five minutes.
First, Jacob Wakeling and Tyrese Shade combined well inside the Barrow area with the latter trying his luck on goal, but he dragged his shot wide of the mark as it struck a defender and was cleared.
Two minutes later, Jordan Stevens left Sol Brynn rooted to the spot as he cut in from the right and struck a low, curling shot on goal, but it just beat the post and went wide of the mark.
On fifty-five minutes, Jonny Williams looked to increase his goal tally for the season as he skipped past his man and struck one low from distance, but with the diving Farman beaten, the shot skidded wide of the mark.
Further efforts a minute later from Remeao Hutton saw Farman tip over before Ronan Darcy shot over from close range.
We soon reached the hour mark and Town were let off the hook, courtesy of Angus MacDonald.
A dangerous in-swinging corner somehow beat Brynn and looked to be heading in, only for the Town captain to step in and head the ball downwards off the line and out to safety.
Torrential downpours followed to add to the already difficult conditions, and Morgan Roberts was introduced in place of Ronan Darcy, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy following soon after, replacing Tyrese Shade, as Scott Lindsey looked to change things up.
On seventy minute we saw the rain ease a little and Barrow go close to forcing an equaliser, as substitute Richie Bennett found himself unmarked in the Swindon area, but leaping high, he sent his powerful header narrowly wide of the left post.
Then, two minutes later, Patrick Brough hit a tricky long range shot just over the bar as the hosts looked to pile on the pressure and take control as the clock ticked down.
Lindsey brought on Tomi Adeloye and young academy prospect Anton Dworzak for his first taste of league football on eighty-two minutes, with Jonny Williams and Jacob Wakeling making way, as Lindsey looked to close out Barrow in the final stages.
Town were then presented with the perfect opportunity to seal the tie, as substitute Tomi Adeloye was sent clear through on goal by Dworzak, but in his attempt to round Farman, he was denied by the stopper who gathered at his feet and the chance went begging.
With the electronic board seemingly broken, we were left to ponder how much stoppage time was left as Town continued to push forward, and Paul Farman produced his best save of the day as we reached ninety seven minutes.
Good work from Adeloye on the left saw him cross low to an unmarked Hepburn-Murphy, and the Swindon sub did everything right to strike powerfully at goal, but somehow the stopper was able to stick out a hand and push the effort wide.
The final whistle blew and Swindon were left to celebrate an important win over a side pushing for the playoffs, with Scott Lindsey’s side switching places with Pete Wild’s side, moving up to fourth in the standings.
Barrow Line-up: 4-2-3-1
1. Paul Farman (GK) – 3. Patrick Brough, 25. George Ray, 21. Tyrell Warren, 6. Niall Canavan ©, 35. Jordan Stevens, 9. Billy Waters (26. Richie Bennett 58mins), 14. Harrison Neal, 34. Ben Whitfield (23. David Mayo 87mins), 16. Sam Foley (13. Tom White 63mins), 10. Josh Gordon.
Subs not used: 12. Josh Lillis (GK) – 19. Pawel Zuk, 2. Connor Brown.
Yellow Cards: 1. Farman 5mins.
Red Cards: None
Swindon Town Line-up: 4-3-3
1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 22. Marcel Lavinier, 20. Frazer Blake-Tracy, 21. Angus MacDonald ©, 2. Remeao Hutton, 5. Louis Reed, 3. Ellis Iandolo, 10. Ronan Darcy (33. Morgan Roberts 64mins), 8. Jonny Williams (9. Tomi Adeloye 85mins), 28. Tyrese Shade (19. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy 71mins), 24. Jacob Wakeling (35. Anton Dworzak 85mins)
Subs not used: 41. Jack Copland (GK) – 31. Harrison Minturn, 17. Ricky Aguiar.
Scorers: Reed pen 7
Yellow Cards: 21. MacDonald 33mins, 28. Shade 45mins, 2. Hutton 72mins.
Red Cards: None
Referee: Rob Lewis
Assistant Referees: Daniel Woodward & Blake Antrobus
Fourth Official: Peter Gooch
Attendance: 2,617 (171 away fans)