On an afternoon which was unpleasant for both playing and watching football, Sutton and Barrow put on a much better game than might have been expected in the conditions, with David Ajiboye's early goal enough to give U's a second home win of the week and a place in League Two's top six.
The visitors, now without a win in nine games, will have made the long trip back to Cumbria feeling, having forced fifteen corners during the afternoon, that they should have taken something from the game, and Sutton were at full stretch to preserve the lead in the last ten minutes, but preserve it they did thanks to some superb defending and one fine save from Dean Bouzanis.
U's were forced in to one change, Ali Smith picking up a knock in training and Kenny Davis returning to the starting line-up, while Will Randall was preferred to Ricky Korboa on the left, and it was Sutton who started the brighter in cold and blustery conditions. After just four minutes Ajiboye cut in on the right and crossed low for Randall, who couldn't turn the ball in at the near post, and Randall also sent a shot over from just outside the penalty area.
With the wind blowing across the pitch Josh Kay, on the Barrow left, saw a lot of the ball early on in more space than U's might have liked, and it should have led to a Barrow goal when he played the ball in to the unmarked Offrande Zanzala, who seemed as though he had to score but could only shoot at Bouzanis.
It was an expensive miss, because U's had soon struck what proved to be the decisive blow. Davis was fouled in midfield, and Rob Milsom reacted quickly by immediately sending the free kick across to Ajiboye on the right wing, and he cut in past Kay and Tom White before placing a low curling shot with his left foot just inside the far post.
Zanzala soon had a chance to atone for his earlier miss when Matty Platt's ball forward drifted over Ben Goodliffe and left Zanzala in the clear, but he prodded the ball across goal and wide of the far post.
Barrow's attempts to play out from the back almost got them in to trouble more than once, with Olaofe dispossessing Platt but the defender sticking out a foot to concede a corner, and Olaofe might have made it 2-0 when he hooked the ball just wide following a corner, but, after a delay as assistant Daniel Bonneywell limped away to be replaced by reserve official Michael Begley, it was Barrow who finished the half on the front foot as White shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Just before half time Kay was booked for a heavy challenge on Ajiboye which some referees might have treated more severely than Brett Huxtable, who showed a yellow card. The visitors made a half time change with Remeao Hutton replacing Jordan Stevens, but Sutton had the first sight of goal, Davis shooting just too high from twenty yards. There was always a threat from Barrow, though, with Josh Gordon becoming increasingly prominent and he cut in from the right before sending in a low shot that Bouzanis was safely behind. Visiting keeper Paul Farman was then called in to action twice in quick succession as another incisive run from Ajiboye ended with a low shot that was saved, and Omar Bugiel then also tried his luck from a similar range and again Farman was equal to the effort.
Just after Kay had seen a shot deflected in to the side netting, Bugiel was involved in a moment of controversy as, having been booked for persistent infringement early in the second half and with Richie Bennett standing on the touchline waiting to come on, he brought down James Jones as the defender brought the ball out of defence. The referee ignored the protests of the Barrow players and opted against showing Bugiel a second yellow card, with Bennett replacing the striker before the free kick could be taken, and Barrow skipper Ollie Banks booked for the vehemence of his protests.
As time ran out Barrow pushed forward looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat and reward the 164 supporters who have braved the travelling conditions, bringing on defender Mark Ellis as a striker, but Sutton's defence, not for the first time this season, was just about faultless. Ellis headed over from a left wing cross that gathered pace on the gale as it reached him, and Bouzanis tipped over a fierce shot from Robbie Gotts. The keeper was booked for time wasting after running to the side of the pitch to change the ball that he felt had gone flat, only for the referee to disagree, while opposite number Farman, having kept his team in the game by pushing the ball off the feet of Donovan Wilson after the substitute had pounced on a misplaced header, joined his attack for a succession of late corners, but U's held firm as John and Davis produced fine interventions to deny Banks and Ellis, and Platt's header was scrambled away by a combination of Wilson and Bouzanis at the foot of the post.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Barden, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye, K Davis, O Bugiel(sub R Bennett 74), I Olaofe(sub D Wilson 78), W Randall. Subs n/u B Wyatt, C Dundas, R Korboa, B House. Booked: Goodliffe, Bugiel, Davis, Bouzanis
Barrow: P Farman, J Gordon(sub M Ellis 83), J Grayson, J Jones, M Platt, T White, J Stevens(sub R Hutton H-T), O Banks, R Gotts, O Zanzala, J Kay. Subs n/u J Lillis, J Taylor, M Jones, F Arthur. Booked: Kay, Banks.
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Attendance: 2,678 (164 away)