BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 2 (McKenna 79, Rowntree 85) BARROW AFC 0

BARROW AFC suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Bradford (Park Avenue) at the Horsfall Stadium in a game that could have gone either way.

The Bluebirds were made to rue missed opportunities as they ended their pre-season campaign with a loss.

AFC started brightly, and with only six minutes on the clock a dangerous ball in by Dan Jones across the edge of the box saw John Rooney run on to the ball before striking it first time, but his goal-bound effort was blocked Bradford’s Conor Branson.

Barrow had another goal-bound effort blocked in the 13th minute as Nathan Waterston took advantage of Avenue goalkeeper Steven Drench fumbling the ball and laid the ball off to Raul Correia, whose powerful effort was stopped by Luca Havern.

Correia was in the thick of the action and nearly setup a goal, as he laid-off a ball to Jack Hindle down the right-hand channel between Danny Lowe and Jamie Spencer. He produced an effort with his right foot that whistled past the far post.

Just before the half-hour-mark, Josh Kay saw an effort from the edge of the box shave the right-hand post as he cut inside following some impressive build-up play between Waterston and Correia.

It took until the 31st minute for Park Avenue to have their first notable effort of the game, as a surging run by Ben McKenna down the right saw him put a dangerous cross into the six-yard box, which Salford City loanee Jake Beesley met, but his effort flew over the crossbar.

One minute later, Barrow should have taken the lead, as a corner from the left-hand side by Rooney was not cleared. Correia threw himself at the cross, but the former Blackpool man could not get enough purchase on his effort and flicked the ball high.

Moments before half-time, Andy Firth was called into action as former Workington Reds man McKenna was put through one-on-one, but Firth pulled off a good save down low to his right to stop Park Avenue taking the lead.

The second half started well for Barrow, as Kay had a fine effort tipped around the post by Drench.

But the game now lacked intensity, and efforts on goal were few and far between for both sides.

In the 65th minute, Kay had another long-range effort from around 20 yards out which Drench fumbled before grabbing the ball at the second attempt before it could go over the line.

With 10 minutes to go, Bradford (Park Avenue) took the lead through McKenna as a trialist raced down the right before crossing a ball in that Firth misjudged, and the former Carlisle United youngster slotted into the far bottom corner.

Just six minutes later, the home side doubled their advantage, as once again McKenna caused problems down the left wing with a drilled cross towards the six-yard box which Matthew Rowntree fired home with ease.

The Bluebirds nearly grabbed a consolation goal as full-time neared, as firstly Correia had an effort cleared off the line following a Drench fumble, before a trialist was put through on goal but hit the inside of the post and Bradford cleared.

It was a disappointing way for the Bluebirds to end a positive pre-season, as they look forward to the start of the National League on Saturday when Havant and Waterlooville visit town.

Bradford Park Avenue: Steve Drench, Ryan Toulson, Danny Lowe, Jamie Spencer, Conor Branson, Luca Havern, Ben McKenna, Danny Boshell, Jake Beesley, Chris Dawson, Trialist.

Substitutes: Mark Ross, Matthew Rowntree, Adam Nowakowski, Hassan Ali, plus trialists.

Barrow AFC: Andy Firth, Connor Brown, Dan Jones, Jason Taylor, Josh Granite, Matthew Elsdon, Jack Hindle, John Rooney, Raul Correia, Josh Kay, Nathan Waterston.

Substitutes: Jim Pollard, Lee Molyneux, Astley Mulholland, Luke Burgess, Jack Barthram.