THE Bluebirds lost heavily in their first completed away game in pre-season, against a clinical Southport side.

Barrow made a slow start and paid the price, as a long ball up field towards Jack Sampson was flicked on to Dion Charles. He isolated Matt Elsdon just inside the penalty area before the Barrow defender clumsily fouled Charles.

Elliot Osbourne took the resulting spot-kick and slotted it into the bottom right-hand corner, sending newly-signed goalkeeper Andrew Firth the wrong way.

The Bluebirds produced their first notable effort of the game in the sixth minute, as a quick counter-attack, led by Dan Jones, saw him feed the ball through to Josh Kay.

He passed an inviting ball in behind the Southport defence on the right wing, which Jack Hindle raced on to, before driving a low shot towards the bottom left corner. Dan Hanford was equal to Hindle’s effort in the Southport goal.

Barrow went close again in the 22nd minute, as John Rooney poked a quick effort from the edge of the box; unfortunately for the Bluebirds, it went straight at Hanford.

Southport doubled their lead just moments later, as Jones gave away a clumsy free-kick on Charles on the right-hand corner of the area. Jordan Richards stepped up and whipped a brilliant shot into the top left corner, giving Firth no chance.

Hindle went close to halving the deficit. Some strong hold-up play down the right wing by Raul Correia saw him fire a cross towards Hindle, who fizzed an effort towards the near post which whistled over the bar.

The opening phases of the second half lacked conviction, as the Bluebirds looked to gain more control but lacked the cutting edge in the final third against a stern Southport defence.

On the counter-attack Southport could have had the game completely wrapped up after 64 minutes, as Charles played an inviting through ball to Jason Gilchrist, who twisted and turned Elsdon, before firing straight at Barrow’s trialist goalkeeper.

Rooney went close again with just 15 minutes to go, as he drove an effort wide of Hanford’s right-hand post following good play by substitute Nathan Waterston on the left wing.

The Port sealed the win with 10 minutes to go following a thunderbolt by central midfielder Nathan Lowe from 25 yards, which arrowed into the top right corner.

Ian Evatt’s side will be looking to return to winning ways when the Bluebirds take on Lancaster at Holker Street on Tuesday night.