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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Early strike sinks Bluebirds - match report

BARROW AFC headed for their pre-season Lake District training camp last night on the back of a 1-0 home friendly defeat against League Two outfit Morecambe.

The game was the Bluebirds’ seventh of 10 this summer and their third in the space of five days. Given the hectic schedule, it was an encouraging performance from the Blue Square Bet Premier team, especially in the second half when an unnamed triallist striker, believed to be ex-Blackpool, Morecambe and York City man Matty Blinkhorn, joined Adam Boyes up front.

Seven Barrow players – including midfielder Garry Hunter, who was released by Morecambe at the end of last season following nine years with his hometown club – managed to get the full 90 minutes under their belts.

The Bluebirds started in a 4-3-3 formation, with five unnamed triallists – including centre-half Sean Hessey, as well as midfielders Alex-Ray Harvey and Hunter – in the starting XI.

Having lost 4-0 at home against Carlisle United on Saturday, Barrow fell behind again when, on seven minutes, Joe McGee won a tackle with Hessey and fed Joe Mwasile, who in turn squared the ball for Jack Redshaw and the nippy striker rolled it into the bottom corner.

The hosts should have equalised within a minute but an unmarked Ray-Harvey failed to get on the end of a cross from Boyes.

A confident and powerful Morecambe outfit went on to dominate possession for the next 15 minutes, with Barrow keeper Danny Hurst making excellent saves from McGee and then Redshaw. Shrimps defender Youl Mawene also had a good chance, but his effort went high over the crossbar.

An improving Barrow then went close with off-target headers from Hessey and Boyes as the game – played on a bobbly Holker Street surface – became a much more evenly-fought affair.

AFC’s best move of the half, however, was reserved for the 42nd minute when Hessey carried the ball 40 yards into the opposition half, played a neat one-two with Boyes and sent a deflected shot narrowly wide of the post.

At the other end, Danny Carlton fired a long-range shot past the upright and McGee stung Hurst’s palms with a thumping 25-yard effort.

Barrow made two changes at the interval with Richie Baker and the triallist striker, believed to be Blinkhorn, replacing midfield duo Ray-Harvey and James Owen.

Now playing in a 4-4-2 formation, the Bluebirds almost bagged a leveller on 46 minutes but substitute Morecambe keeper Ben Woodhead got down superbly to keep out a shot from Boyes.

Home winger Paul Rutherford was then booked, before the lively Blinkhorn – a 27-year-old free agent who was released by York at the end of last season – curled an 18-yard shot straight at Woodhead.

Redshaw then shot wide and, on 62 minutes, was replaced by new signing Richard Brodie, who enjoyed a loan spell at Barrow in 2008.

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley made several further changes moments later, with his counterpart Dave Bayliss following suit by introducing defenders Mike Pearson and Ben Hoskin for Hessey and Matt Flynn.

The Shrimps should have doubled their lead on 70 minutes when right-back Hoskin allowed a cross to reach Andy Fleming at the back post, but the substitute was thwarted by Hurst.

Undeterred, Barrow pushed on again and a great move involving Blinkhorn, Boyes and Rutherford ended with chances for the latter two players, both of whom were unable to convert. They were the last decent opportunities of the game.

Barrow AFC: Danny Hurst, Matt Flynn, Gavin Skelton (captain), Triallist (Sean Hessey), Triallist, James Owen, Triallist (Garry Hunter), Triallist (Alex-Ray Harvey), Paul Rutherford, Triallist, Adam Boyes.

Subs: Shaun Pearson, Mike Pearson, Richie Baker, Triallist (Matty Blinkhorn), Ben Hoskin.

Morecambe: Barry Roache, Izak Reid, James Short, Will Haining (captain),Youl Mawene, Stewart Drummond, Joe McGee, Ryan Williams, Danny Carlton, Joe Mwasile, Jack Redshaw.

Subs: Andy Parrish, Robbie Threlfall, Chris McCready, Andy Fleming, Andy Wright, Lewis Alessandra, Ben Woodhead, Jordan Burrow, Dan Parkinson, Gary McDonald, Richard Brodie, Chris Doyle.

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