Barrow’s stand-in manager Sam Hird admitted the fall-out from boss David Dunn’s positive Covid-19 test proved “very disruptive” prior to a 1-0 defeat at Harrogate.
Defender Hird, 33, was told that he and development coach Craig Rutherford would be taking charge of the Bluebirds little more than three hours before kick-off.
Dunn had been isolating all week having shown telltale symptoms of the virus but only received the results of his test on Friday night and Barrow were then informed that both he and assistant manager Rob Kelly could not be present at Wetherby Road.
Jack Muldoon’s first-half goal settled matters between the two teams, who were promoted from the Football League last term.
Former Chesterfield and Doncaster defender Hird said: “It wasn’t ideal preparation in terms of the build-up with what happened to the manager and the assistant manager.
“It was very disruptive and we did not know that we would be taking the team until we were asked at 11.30am.
“That was the first time we knew we would be without the manager and, then, we found out we would be without the assistant as well. We were told by the authorities that the game had to go ahead and had a quick team meeting.
“But, myself and Craig gave it a right good go and might be asked to do it again now on Tuesday.”
Striker Muldoon bagged his fourth goal of the campaign as Harrogate racked up their first home win of the season, having returned to their home stadium after groundsharing with Doncaster while their 3G playing surface was replaced with grass,
Muldoon broke through the right channel to latch on to a long ball forward by Will Smith before firing confidently inside Joel Dixon’s near post from 15 yards in the 22nd minute.
Barrow have only netted once in five matches on the road this season and are still waiting for their first Football League win since a 2-0 triumph over neighbours Workington in April 1972.
But substitute Dior Angus wasted an excellent opportunity to equalise in stoppage time for the visitors when he fired into the side-netting from four yards.
Harrogate boss Simon Weaver admitted it was great to return to the club’s new stadium with a positive display.
He said: “The grass played well and suited both teams, because we both like to pass the ball. It was also good to be back in the area, even though we miss having the fans here and we miss their roar.
“It was a difficult game as it always is playing against Barrow. They always ask questions of you, but we limited them to just a few chances.
“We were not at our best, but it was just a case of grinding out a win. We kept together as a unit and used our strengths as well, which saw us through.”
On Muldoon’s impressive start to the season, Weaver said: “It was an absolutely brilliant finish. He hit it so well and it’s not surprising us.
“He’s so explosive for us and a real threat running behind defences.”