Peter Wild saluted Barrow’s strength in depth as the Cumbrians picked up a seventh consecutive win with a 3-1 League Two victory at injury-hit Crewe.
The Bluebirds manager was able to make key changes to ram home the visitors’ advantage in the closing stages with substitute Robbie Gotts setting up Ben Whitfield for the striker’s second, which restored a two-goal cushion.
Crewe manager Lee Bell, in contrast, had limited options as injuries, suspension and illness left him naming an inexperienced bench.
Bell was also disappointed with a second-half penalty decision which allowed Ged Garner to add to Whitfield’s opener, accusing former Crewe defender George Ray of a theatrical dive in the box.
It allowed the Cumbrians to close out another win thanks to a gritty display at Gresty Road.
“It was a real test for us to play Swindon and Crewe away and to get six points from those two difficult away games is unbelievable. Crewe caused us different problems, but we coped with it well and I’m really pleased with how we’ve done away from home,” said the Barrow boss.
“We’ve got great strength in depth which helps us. There’s three players tonight who are sat at home and have not even travelled.
“They don’t deserve to be sitting at home. We can take players off the bench at the right times and recharge the team when it’s needed.
“The role the subs have played in the squad this season is outstanding. That is one of the reasons we are doing so well. It’s the difference between us being a good side and a top-10 side. And we got it right in the summer with our recruitment.
“I’m delighted for the travelling support as I wanted to give them something to cheer after we lost here last season and I got into a right argument with a fan. Hopefully our performance tonight will have given him something to cheer.
“But while I’m delighted to get another three points on the board, there’s still a long way to go.”
The Railwaymen are now without a win in four games and their showing was a disappointment for the large home following, swelling the gate of 7,646 after a cut-price ticket offer.
Alex manager Bell said: “The moment the game changed for them was the penalty. To have that given when he (Ray) was offside and then falls to the floor; the more I look at it the worse it looks. It changed the momentum of the game as it should have been 1-1 when we scored.
“I’m bitterly disappointed about that moment in the game.
“But the players have been brilliant as they are going above and beyond. We are really low on players with so many missing; one went off ill (Ryan Cooney) tonight.
“I’m proud of the club and the fans who came out in force tonight and stuck with the players. I hope they return and I appreciate the way they backed the players.
“I asked the players to come up with energy and certain things and I can’t fault them in those areas.”