BARROW AFC 2 (Rooney 4, Taylor 79) NEWCASTLE UNITED UNDER-23s 3 (Toney 32, Sorenson 48, 58)

THERE are lessons in victory and lessons in defeat, and for the first time this pre-season Ian Evatt is looking for the latter.

Newcastle United’s under-23s side – with one player who had played in Serie A in his past career in the shape of Achraf Lazaar – came to Holker Street and showed their attacking class.

In the second half, in particular, they were able to tear holes in the home defence and cause danger that Carlisle and Crewe had been unable to create.

Evatt was able to sign both Jason Taylor and Brian Wilson before the game, and both came on in the second half, while the majority of his other recruits also featured.

AFC made the perfect start when John Rooney stepped up and fired a 25-yard free-kick from left of centre over the wall and into the top corner past the dive of Nathan Harker.

They looked the better attacking side, linking passes neatly around the area and setting up nice moves.

A corner was scrambled clear off the line as a Barrow AFC trialist looked to poke home, before Rooney and two trialists combined to set up the former inside the area, but his effort was too high.

Achraf Lazaar hit a stinging free-kick from 20 yards out for the visitors that took a slight deflection off the wall and only just cleared the bar, before Ivan Toney tried his luck from a similar distance, but his set-piece thudded off the boards at the side of the goal.

Newcastle were coming more into the game, and had two chances in quick succession, as Luke Charman beat the trialist keeper at the near post, but hit the foot of the woodwork. The rebound came to Matthew Longstaff 12 yards out, but with all the goal to aim for, he had his shot superbly cleared off the line by Dan Jones.

Barrow were playing on the break, and did it well as Hindle and a trialist combined to play in Nathan Waterston at the far post, but he could only stab wide with his outstretched boot.

United were level just after the half-hour as Josh Granite sold the trialist keeper short with a back-pass, and Toney was left to walk the ball into the back of the net.

It could have been two a minute later when Toney had a dipping effort from 20 yards on the right of the area, that the keeper had to tip over.

Newcastle went ahead early in the second half as a flick-on from Toney played substitute Elias Sorenso through, and he drew the keeper from his line before slotting into the bottom corner.

It took time for Barrow to adapt to a number of changes made at the break, but they started to find a rhythm, and a cross from the left was glanced past the far post by Rhys Turner.

The away tally was added to before the hour-mark as Oliver Walters played Sorenson through again – despite strong calls for offside – and he was able to slot home his second.

It should soon have been 4-1, but Toney lost his composure as he went through a huge hole in the Barrow defence and could only drag a shot wide of the far post.

It was at the back where Barrow were having their problems as they struggled to cope when the Magpies came forward in numbers, at pace, or both.

In attack, there was less concern, and it was 3-2 when a cross from a trialist on the left was met at the far post by Callum Saunders – another trialist, this time without dad Dean watching. His effort was saved by Otto Huuthanen, but Jason Taylor was there to pounce on the loose ball and bundle home.

Raul Correia blazed 10 yards over from only 15 yards out into the final minutes, with the AFC defence battling away to stop further breaks through their line.

They managed that, but there were no more goals at either end, with a first defeat in pre-season on the books.

Barrow AFC First Half: Trialist, Jack Barthram, Dan Jones, Josh Granite, Trialist, Trialist, John Rooney, Trialist, Trialist, Nathan Waterston, Jack Hindle.

Substitutes: Trialist, Jason Taylor, Brian Wilson, Josh Kay, Matthew Elsdon, Rhys Turner, Trialist, Raul Correia, Connor Brown.

Newcastle United Under-23s: Nathan Harker, Lewis Cass, Achraf Lazaar, Matthew Longstaff, Oisin McEntee, Stefan O’Connor,Thomas Allan, Mo Sangare, Ivan Toney, Trialist, Luke Charman.

Substitutes: Ryan Barrett, Otto Huuthanen, Daniel Barlaser, Owen Bailey, Liam Gibson, Oliver Walters, Juan Cumbrera, Elias Sorenson, Adam Wilson.

Next Game: Southport v Barrow AFC, Saturday, Haig Avenue, 3pm kick-off.