Ian Henderson shattered Barrow's dream of booking a place in the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in their history with two well-taken goals to steer Rochdale to a 2-0 win at Holker Street.
With the fog rolling in across the Furness Peninsula and the hosts' biggest crowd in 27 years craving an upset to eclipse the Bluebirds' win at Bristol Rovers in the previous round, the omens were in favour of the National League side.
But Keith Hill's in-form team were a class apart for much of the afternoon and Henderson's brace in the 17th and 62nd minutes - taking his tally to six goals in his last four games - was the least they deserved from a fully professional display.
Barrow had their chances but they were fleeting moments of hope and in reality from the moment Henderson headed home from a Steven Davies corner there seemed little chance of an upset.
Rochdale might have felt aggrieved to only have one goal to show from a dominant first half display, fashioning their opening chance in the sixth minute when captain Callum Camps was inches from connecting with Joseph Rafferty's ball across the face of goal.
The National League side gave the majority of the 4,414 crowd - 14 above the ground's official capacity - something to cheer, coming close in the 23rd minute when both Richard Bennett and Moussa Diarra were denied by a great double save from visiting keeper Conrad Logan.
Matty Lund dribbled wide in the 28th minute when he ought to have increased Rochdale's lead, and the home side enjoyed a good spell towards the end of the half with both Diarra and Byron Harrison prominent.
Davies flashed a free-kick just wide moments after the re-start then Lund should have done better than dump his shot into the side-netting after a superb touch from Camps on the counter-attack.
Chances kept coming for the visitors with Barrow defender Shaun Beeley booting off the line and Davies firing wide before Dale effectively ended the contest when Henderson grabbed his second just past the hour-mark.
Oliver Rathbone sent a fine through-ball and the 31-year-old made no mistake sliding home past the helpless Flatt to continue his superb recent goalscoring run.
To their credit, the home side continued to battle, and could have reduced the deficit in the 71st minute when Richard Bennett met a cross from Nick Anderton but headed straight at Logan.
Barrow boss Paul Cox watched Byron Harrison come close to reducing the deficit in injury time but the Rochdale defence proved efficient to the last and will hope to have earned a glamour tie in the fourth round draw on Monday.