CITY are going the distance in their improbable play-off push after a dramatic finale at Barrow.

The Bantams will still need friendly results elsewhere even if they win the final game at home to Newport on Saturday.

But a fourth straight victory – thanks to a late goal from sub Tyler Smith - ensured that their season will be alive on the last day.

And that is some achievement from where they were exactly a month ago.

A 3-0 humbling at Harrogate put the lid on a wretched four-game losing slump amid mounting anger in the stands.

But the travelling fans left Holker Street knowing that there is still a chance of an incredible ending to the season after witnessing City’s third away success in 10 days.

The Bantams will still start the weekend as the rank outsiders to grab one of the two remaining spots.

Even with three more points, they need Barrow to lose at home to Mansfield and Crawley to fail to beat Grimsby. But it’s far better than a dead rubber to see the season out!

Jamie Walker’s one-match ban following his weekend red card meant a recall from the off for Alex Gilliead for the first time since Notts County last month.

City had won nine of the last 12 games that Walker had started but the Scot was reduced to watching duty in the crowd after his petulant double booking.

Teenage striker Harry Ibbitson travelled with the squad but did not make the bench – which did include Liam Ridehalgh.

Some of the travelling fans had an issue getting to the ground after a section of the M6 northbound was shut – and there were still gaps in the away section at kick-off.

They had journeyed to Cumbria in hope, knowing that nothing less than another victory would keep things bubbling into the weekend.

Barrow’s barren recent run had left them glancing over their shoulders at the cluster of clubs closing in on the top seven and there was a tension in the air during the scrappy opening exchanges.

Both teams took time to settle but City had a sniff when Tyreik Wright was pulled down to the side of the Barrow box. Former Bantams skipper Niall Canavan did well to turn away Richie Smallwood’s free-kick.

As City picked it up, Paul Farman pulled off a point-blank block to deny Ciaran Kelly from Wright’s corner and Calum Kavanagh’s overhead follow-up flew wide. Then Andy Cook powered a header straight at the home stopper.

The best chance came on 25 minutes when Brad Halliday’s blocked shot fell kindly for Kavanagh who screwed his effort past the far post.

But there was no escape for Barrow from City’s next corner. It was half-cleared as far as Bobby Pointon – who had time to take a touch before letting rip from just inside the box to smash his third goal of the season.

Barrow looked a bag of nerves at the back, giving City too much time on the ball, and more dithering from Wright’s cross allowed Kavanagh room for a shot on the spin that Farman managed to block.

There had been little to threaten the other way, although Kelly had to be alert dealing with a dangerous cross seeking out the head of target man Emile Acquah.

But the only negative for Graham Alexander as the half-time whistle sounded was that his side had not taken more of a commanding advantage back to the dressing room. They had out-shot the hosts 9-1.

Pete Wild sent Barrow back out early, no doubt with backsides stinging after their lacklustre first half, and were met with some boos from the frustrated home fans.

But the crowd were back onside as they almost levelled five minutes after the restart.

Canavan’s header sent Cole Stockton racing into the box. He was forced wide by Sam Walker and the shot from an angle was cleared off the line by Kelly.

There was much more about Barrow now, using the strong wind behind them, and Pointon and Daniel Oyegoke both went in the book for stopping home raids.

Kelly then clattered Stockton 25 yards out just before the hour – and City paid the price as Kian Spence’s free-kick flew through Sam Walker, who was undone by the swerve after it nicked off Kavanagh in the wall.

The keeper has hardly put a foot wrong since his January arrival but it was a big moment and the whole atmosphere changed.

Acquah thundered an effort over the bar before City were able to weather the home storm.

Pointon was on thin ice after ref Ross Joyce warned him that one more foul would see him go. But it was Gilliead who made way for Clarke Oduor in the first change.

Pointon was then replaced by Tyler Smith and Harry Chapman was also thrown on for Kavanagh as Alexander prepared for an all-or-nothing finale.

Walker saved from Barrow sub David Worrall but City had to keep throwing men forward.

The clock was ticking fast on their season and James Chester pulled off a perfectly-timed lunging tackle to nick the ball off Smith as he raced into the Barrow box.

Smith was then agonisingly close to reaching Chapman’s cross – but then it was third time lucky for the striker as Cook played him in to coolly slot past Farman and send the away fans wild.

Smith and Chapman were promptly subbed themselves – disappearing to standing ovation from their supporters - to bring on two more defenders to see it through.

City had to negotiate nine added minutes before they could savour a special result.