By Jack McGraghan
Goals either side of half-time from Scott Boden and Greg Olley saw Gateshead secured a third consecutive away against Barrow to move sixth in the National League.
Tyler Smith put the hosts ahead 25 minutes in after they started the half on top before Boden’s third goal in two games hauled Gateshead level on the stroke of half time.
The Heed took the lead three minutes after the restart via Olley’s second of the season and held on despite late Barrow pressure for a third consecutive away win.
Steve Watson opted to make just one change from Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win at Chesterfield, with Mike Williamson replaced by JJ O’Donnell as the Heed switched to a back four.
Barrow began brightly and saw their first sight of goal only three minutes in when John Rooney fired Kyle Jameson’s short free-kick towards the bottom corner, but Aynsley Pears was equal to it.
The hosts continued to push forward early on in search of the opener with Rory Holden striking the crossbar two minutes later with a curling effort, before Josh Kay’s 20-yard shot flew inches wide moments later.
Gateshead grew into the game after an uneasy start with Luke Molyneux creating two near-identical openings for himself 11 minutes apart as he cut inside from the right-wing and fired a few yards wide of the far post.
Twenty-five minutes into the half however the Bluebirds converted their attacking threat into the opening goal, as Smith was played in behind the defence by Luke Burgess before curling into the far corner from 20 yards.
Falling behind sparked a reaction from the Heed who began to fashion more chances on goal towards the end of the half with Molyneux again the man to try his luck, sending a shot over the bar after Steve Rigg’s lay-off.
The equaliser came with the last attack of the half through Robbie Tinkler’s quick free-kick, with the full-back sending Molyneux down the right-wing before he rolled the ball back across the box for Boden to side-foot home.
Almost instantly after the restart Gateshead took the lead through Olley, who latched on to Tinkler’s pass down the right-wing before slotting past goalkeeper Andrew Firth at his near-post.
Scott Barrow then stung the palms of Firth with one of his trademark long-range strikes from a short corner as Gateshead looked to increase their lead.
The hosts were rocked by the Heed’s rapid start to the half and took their time to recover before chasing an equaliser late on, while Watson shifted Barrow to central defence and O’Donnell to left-back as he looked to shut up shop.
The Bluebirds came centimetres away from snatching a point with five minutes to go when substitute Jack Hindle sent a loose ball crashing against the far post from 20 yards, with the game edging towards a nail-biting finale.
Barrow applied relentless pressure in the final few minutes but the Heed battled until the end and got their just rewards, earning their second win in four days.
Barrow (4-2-3-1): Firth; Norrington-Davies, Brown (Barthram, 45’), Jones, Jameson; Taylor (c), Rooney; Kay (Hindle, 66’), Burgess, Holden (Blyth, 66’); Smith.
Subs not used: Molyneux, Jennings.
Goals: Smith (25’)
Gateshead (4-3-3): Pears; Tinkler, Kerr, Mellish, Barrow (c); White, O’Donnell, Olley; Molyneux (Hunter, 66’), Boden, Rigg.
Subs not used: Foden, Salkeld, Williamson, Forbes.
Goals: Boden (45+1’), Olley (48’)
Bookings: Molyneux (61’), Hunter (67’)
Referee: Gareth Rhodes
Attendance: 1,053 (24 Gateshead)
MOTM: Robbie Tinkler