STEVE Mungall's honeymoon period ended unexpectedly on Saturday as Chester failed to reach the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in their professional history.
On a roll following the takeover and with Mungall having his first game as manager following his promotion from caretaker, City should have been good enough for a replay at least.
But with one or two below-par performances and an inability to adapt to the boggy Holker Street pitch, City made a premature exit from the competition and waved goodbye to a £20,000 share of the prize fund.
Said Mungall: 'There were too many lost personal battles. I was totally disappointed. We let our standards drop and gave the ball away cheaply.
'It is a big blow, but we must now keep our run going in the league.'
Even though City's performance fell some way below the three previous ones under Mungall, this was a game which should have been won.
Following an early scare when Wayne Brown had to block a shot from Nicky Peverell in Barrow's first meaningful attack, the best opportunities fell to Chester in the first half.
Goalkeeper Simon Bishop did well to save a Mike Rose free-kick and then Jimmy Haarhoff failed to make the most of time and space to shoot over.
But the worst miss came four minutes before the break when a mistake by Anthony Hall let in Dean Spink, who was too slow to prevent Bishop snatching the ball from his feet.
Fluent football wasn't possible on this clinging surface and with Chris and Mike O'Brien and Mark Beesley missing from the starting line-up Chester were at a disadvantage, but the chances kept coming in the second half.
Bishop was again Barrow's saviour saving from Haarhoff in a frantic goalmouth scramble and by now the City fans must have been fearing that this was going to be one of those days. It was.
On 58 minutes, and against the run of play, Brown failed to cut out a Scott Maxfield corner and Grant Holt powered in to head the decisive goal.
Even the introduction of Beesley on the hour failed to have the desired effect up front and frustration and desperation became the feature of Chester's play.
With Barrow indulging in spoiling tactics and gaining in confidence, everyone knew that this was going to end in victory for the UniBond League side.
And for their fighting spirit and their greater hunger for success, they probably deserved it.
Barrow:Bishop, Shaw, Maxfield, Hall, Hume, Anthony, Housham (Bullimore 67), Gaughan, Peverell, Warren, Holt. Subs: Doherty, Rogers, Jones, Bawn.
Booked: Maxfield, Holt, Hume.
Chester: Brown, Ruscoe (Wright 82), M Rose, Porter, Halford, Lancaster, Ruffer, Blackburn, Haarhoff, Spink, Kerr (Beesley 60). Subs: Kilgannon, Woodyatt, Jago.
Booked: Rose, Halford, Blackburn, Lancaster, Haarhoff.
Referee: S Castle.