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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Troubled Barrow AFC hit for six by Luton Town

Blue Square Bet Premier: Luton Town 6 Barrow AFC 1

Goals: Luton: Scott Neilson (2), Janos Kovacs (27), Jon Shaw (29, 59, 64), Andre Gray (72)  Barrow: Adam Boyes (68)

Attendance: 5,165 (including 31 Barrow supporters)

BARROW AFC were thrashed at Luton Town for the second time in two seasons last night on a trip to Kenilworth Road that always looked set to be Mission Impossible.

Hit by a recent transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill, the Bluebirds made the long journey south with just 13 players to face a buoyant Bedfordshire outfit, who just three days earlier had knocked Championship big-guns Wolverhampton Wanderers out of the FA Cup.

As feared, it turned out to be one of the most one-sided games of football Barrow have been involved in since their promotion to non-league’s top-flight five years ago.

Former Bluebird striker Jon Shaw bagged a hat-trick as the Hatters ran riot in a 6-1 result that was even worse than 5-1 defeat AFC suffered at the same ground last term.

Barrow defender Matt Flynn was recalled to the side and started at centre-half alongside Sean Hessey in a 4-5-1 formation, while manager Dave Bayliss was able to name only two substitutes in the shape of keeper Shaun Pearson and midfielder James Owen. Richie Baker again missed out with a bruised foot.

The message prior to kick-off would have been clear – try and keep what will be a confident Luton at bay for as long as possible and hope to frustrate the sizeable home support.

A shame then that Barrow made the worst start possible by conceding after just 85 seconds. The goal was scored by unmarked winger Scott Neilson, who, standing six yards out, got his foot to a shot by Shaw that had been going wide and diverted the ball inside the post. Just seconds earlier, Luton striker Andre Gray had rattled the post with a thunderous drive.

The hosts immediately went in search of a second goal and Gray, slipped clear by Neilson, may well have bagged it had his heavy first touch not allowed Barrow keeper Danny Hurst to race out and claim the ball.

Midfielder Garry Hunter’s long-range effort brought a comfortable save from home keeper Mark Tyler but it was the hosts, with their slick passing and sharp movement, who continued to boss proceedings.

The jet-heeled Gray was proving a menace every time the ball came his way and on 17 minutes, while racing onto a through pass, he fell to ground under a challenge from last-man Flynn. There appeared little in the way of contact but having awarded the free-kick it was then a surprise to see the referee show the Barrow defender only a yellow card.

A second Luton goal, however, remained on the cards and duly arrived on 27 minutes when Hurst spilled a header by the giant Janos Kovacs into the back of his own net. The goal was an embarrassing one to concede – not only was Kovacs awarded a free-header following a free-kick by Alex Lawless but his effort was straight at Hurst, who having appeared to make the save then saw the ball squirm from his grasp and go over the line.

Barrow’s woes deepened just two minutes later when Gray crossed from the right and Shaw guided a flicked shot in off the base of the far post to make it 3-0 to the Hatters.

With home supporters chanting “we want 10” a shell-shocked Barrow, for whom the struggling Flynn and skipper Mike Pearson swapped positions, carved a chance for lone striker Adam Boyes, who dragged his shot wide.

It remained, however, a very much one-sided encounter, with Luton looking capable of scoring with every attack, of which there were plenty.

Only a mass rearguard scramble on the goalline denied Shaw a second goal, before Hurst made a superb save keep out a cracking strike from Alex Lawless.

An injury to referee John Hopkins, who was replaced by his assistant, provided the visitors with a brief respite from the onslaught, and to say the half-time whistle came as a welcome sound would be the biggest understatement of the season so far.

Barrow started the second half better and passed the ball with improved sharpness but still Luton, although slightly more subdued in their overall play, looked dangerous with every attack.

They eventually notched a fourth goal just before the hour mark when Greg Taylor crossed from the left and Shaw slid the ball into the bottom corner.

The same two players combined again on 64 minutes, with Shaw nodding the ball past Hurst to complete his hat-trick.

Boyes scored a consolation for the Bluebirds on 68 minutes when he fired the ball between Tyler’s legs, following a knock-down by Flynn, to take his season’s goal tally to 13 in all competitions.

Service was, however, resumed four minutes later as Gray cleverly chipped the ball beyond Hurst to make it 6-1 to the home team.

Barrow’s shattered players battled until the end before trudging off a pitch on which they have never won in their history.

Luton Town: Mark Tyler, Ronnie Henry (captain), Greg Taylor, Janos Kovacs, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner; Arnaud Mendy, Jonathan Smith, Alex Lawless, Scott Neilson; Jon Shaw, Andre Gray.
Subs: Dean Brill, Scott Rendell, Jake Howells, Simon Ainge, Stuart Fleetwood.

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

See Wednesday's Evening Mail for full report, photos and post-match reaction 

Have your say

P FIELD, me quiet, are you blind?
I'll say it evermore.DB AFC,DB AFC,DB AFC. If the guys can't start,perhaps the ladies will show them how,come one and all,chant DB AFC,DB AFC,DB AFC,DB AFC,DB AFC,DB AFC.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 14 January 2013 at 22:01

I'm all for positive thinking captain blue, but there is a time when you have got to take a step back, take your HUGE blinkers off and actually look at things, poor results, poor squad because of poor recruitment, and poor poor management from the top to the bottom,There end of!

Posted by Realist on 12 January 2013 at 21:03

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