An army of nearly 1,200 medieval knights failed to inspire Pools at Holker Street on Easter Monday as Barrow collected three points with a well-deserved 1-0 win.
Pools rarely conjured as much as an attacking threat as they did during the win over FC Halifax Town on Good Friday but it was a goal of real class which proved decisive for the hosts, as substitute Josh Kay came off the bench to despatch an overhead kick with his very first touch.
Craig Hignett chose to make one change to his starting line-up with Danny Amos coming in at left-back, while Josh Hawkes was named on the bench after shrugging off a thigh problem.
Pools were under pressure from the off as the hosts began the game on the front foot and they could have gone in front within two minutes when James Philpott got free down the right but cracked his shot off the post.
Fraser Kerr had to be alert to defend the next attack a minute later as Barrow raided down the left this time but the Pools centre-back was well-positioned to clear with Philpott waiting for a tap-in in the middle.
Pools did show something going forward when Gavan Holohan drove in from the left to send a shot wide under pressure, before Luke Molyneux cut in from the right but fired too high.
However, they were all too rare moments of creation for Pools during a first half which was more centred on determined defending against a Barrow side who looked intent on signing-off in style on home soil.
The dangerous Dior Angus departed the lead through injury to be replaced by Josh Kay and the substitute made an astonishing impact when he peeled off in to space at the back post to meet John Rooney’s deep cross with a delicious overhead kick which flew back across Scott Loach and in to the net. A spectacular strike with what was his first touch.
Rooney then could have added a second goal himself just after the half-hour mark when a corner was delivered out to him on the edge of the box from where he let fly with a swerving drive which beat Loach but was headed off the line by Nicky Featherstone.
Loach then had to be alert a couple of times towards the end of a testing first half, first smothering the ball at the feet of Hindle before also going down bravely to gather Jason Taylor’s low cross from the left.
There was an encouraging moment at the beginning of the second half when Liam Noble – on in place of Danny Amos at half-time – fed Molyneux but the winger dragged his shot just wide of the front post from the edge of the area.
David Edgar also came close to bringing Pools level when he met a right-wing corner with a powerful effort which unfortunately flew straight in to the arms of keeper Joel Dixon.
Meanwhile, at the other end Kay continued to look a real menace and saw one effort well saved by Loach before just failing to find a decisive touch on Hindle’s ball across goal after Barrow caught Pools on the counter.
As time ticked away it was the hosts who remained a greater threat in front of goal, though Molyneuex did have a goalbound shot blocked by a defender after good work down the right-hand side from Pools.
But the Bluebirds were good value for their win and could probably have enjoyed a more handsome margin of victory had they been more ruthless in front of goal.
Full Time: Barrow 1 Pools 0
Attendance: 3007 (1140 Pools)
Booked: Holohan (57), Fetaherstone (67)
Barrow: Dixon, Brown, Taylor, Granite, Philpot, Rooney, Hindle, Hardcastle, Hird, Norrington-Davis, Angus (Kay).
Subs Not Used: Elsdon, Barthram, Molyneux, Jameson.
Pools: Loach, Kioso, Kerr, Edgar, Amos (Noble 46), Featherstone, Donaldson, Holohan (Hawkes 69) Molyneux, James (Muir 84), Kabamba.
Subs Not Used: Anderson, Bale.