Taylor sends Rovers closer to the summit
Forest Green Rovers 2
THOUGH hardly a place from which to send a postcard, Barrow's bogey ground finally yielded some luck for Forest Green to write home about.
James Norwood's sixth goal of the season on 15 minutes was cancelled out by Adam Boyes on the stroke of half-time, and an unlikely but deserved turnaround looked to have been completed by Matt Flynn.
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Rovers have never registered a Blue Square Bet Premier win at Holker Street, but Matty Taylor's 88th minute leveller felt like a bonus as they moved to within two points of the summit.
Dave Hockaday made two team changes from the 4-1 drubbing of Stockport County, Jared Hodgkiss replacing ankle injury victim Ed Asafu-Adjaye at right-back and Omar Koroma given only his second start of the season in attack.
Yan Klukowski has a good scoring record against Barrow, but this time he was the provider of the opening goal with a free-kick from the right which was headed expertly home by an unmarked Norwood.
Koroma was more tightly marshalled by Sean Hessey in the next meaningful attack, although the Gambian forward managed to wriggle clear inside the area and forced a low save from Danny Hurst.
Hurst's opposite number Sam Russell was virtually redundant until the 27th minute, when he was required to clutch a 15-yard shot from Boyes.
That triggered a better spell from the home side, and Boyes was foiled by Russell again when he met Hessey's cross with a meaty header.
Rovers could now play a mostly counter-attacking game, and they almost doubled their lead on 39 minutes when Norwood's right-wing delivery was misjudged by Tom Aldred and Taylor saw a goal-bound shot blocked by Flynn.
It proved to be a significant let-off, as in the final minute of normal first-half time Boyes latched onto Joe Jackson's superb raking pass and finished clinically into the bottom corner.
Barrow could even have gone into the interval ahead, Russell stopping a Richie Baker drive before acrobatically tipping over Hessey's free-kick.
Momentum remained with the Bluebirds at the start of the second period, and Aarran Racine had to produce a vital interception after Jackson had pounced on a rare error by Eddie Oshodi.
Boyes continued to be a headache for the visiting defence, and he saw a low effort tipped around the post by Russell.
Pressure was growing, and only a brilliant reaction save by Russell prevented Boyes from doubling his tally for the afternoon.
The resulting corner was only partially cleared, and Baker's dummy worked space for Flynn to ram home in emphatic fashion.
Rovers played the final 14 minutes with four strikers on the pitch, and substitute Magno Vieira did well to tee up Taylor for a curler that was shovelled away by Hurst.
The equaliser eventually came in straightforward fashion, another sub Steve Brogan swinging over a free-kick from the left and Taylor punishing slack marking with a diving header for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Barrow: D. Hurst; M. Flynn, M. Pearson, T. Aldred, S. Hessey; R. Baker, G. Hunter, A-R Harvey; J. Jackson, A. Boyes, L. Almond (P. Rutherford 83); Subs not used: G. Skelton, T. Anderson, S. McConville, S. Pearson.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, A. Racine, E. Oshodi, C. Stokes; P. Green, A. Bangura (S. Brogan 63), Y. Klukowski (M. Vieira 76); O. Koroma (R. Styche 54), M. Taylor, J. Norwood; Subs not used: J. Rowe, M. Bulman.
Referee: D. Handley (Lancs)
Star man: Sam Russell – A string of classy saves prevented Barrow putting the game out of sight.