Gainsborough Trinity manager Steve Housham was delighted by his side’s attitude as the Blues collected their first points of the season on Saturday.
A 2-1 win over Barrow on the Northolme lifted the gloom that hung over the town’s side, following six consecutive defeats.
Housham had blasted the players last week, and questioned if they were good enough to play for Trinity.
“The players reacted today as to what was said last week and you saw that they really do care,” he said.
“We managed to dig in at important times today, putting bodies on the line and blocking shots in key areas. We were back to our wanting to win style.”
“I’d have been disappointed to come away with a draw because we had two easy chances which you should put away, but it’s good to get the monkey off the back and I hope we have the same feeling after the Worcester game on Tuesday.”
The hosts started the game on the front foot, captain Dom Roma rattling the top of the crossbar after his deflected cross left Barrow goalkeeper Tony McMilan stranded.
Despite the bright beginning by Trinity, Barrow reacted well with midfielder Sam Sheridan coming close with two set-pieces – both drifting narrowly wide.
Housham handed a debut to new recruit Taylor McKenzie, and he proved to be a thorn in Barrow’s attack – constantly breaking down the visitor’s frontline.
The on-going attacking threat of Trinity soon paid off, as Housham’s men took the lead on 25 minutes.
A neat build-up saw midfielder Liam Davis receive a clear sight of goal before he squared the ball for Dan Clayton who was able to produce a cultured left footed finish to hand Gainsborough the lead going into the break.
The Blues continued to press forward after the restart and when both Conner Robinson and Rhys Oates squandered two marvellous goal-scoring opportunities, you sensed Gainsborough may be made to pay for not doubling the lead – and that they did.
A five minutes spell of relentless Barrow pressure saw the visitors eventually level the tie.
A looping set-piece bobbled into the path of Sheridan whose initial effort was saved well by the experienced Phil Barnes in goal, only for striker Nick Rushton to follow up and smash the ball into the unguarded net.
The equaliser gave Barrow a much needed degree of urgency as they pushed on to find the winner, only for Paddy Lacey and Dale Johnson to miss the target following good work down the left on two occasions.
Despite the side from Cumbria pressing for the victory late on, itt was Trinity who won it with the last kick of the game.
A long ball saw Mark Jones pounce on the hesitancy of Barrow captain Danny O’Donnell and the striker raced clear to slot the ball underneath the onrushing McMilan, much to the relief of Housham and the fans.
Gainsborough: Barnes, Roma, Wilde, J.Williams, McKenzie, Young, Russell, Davis, Oates, Robinson, Clayton. Subs: Barraclough, Lacey, Jones, Toner and Emery.
Barrow: McMilan, Burns, Reynolds, Williams, O’Donnell, P.Lacey, Parkinson, Sheridan, Johnson, Arnison, Rushton. Subs: Davies, Allen, Bowen, Mills and Sutherland.
Goals: Clayton 24, Jones 90; Rushton 68.
Referee: Ricky Wootton.