BARROW AFC kept up their winning start to pre-season by disposing of Crewe Alexandra at Holker Street.

Ian Evatt took the chance to have a good look at a number of trialists once more, and he will again have been impressed with what he saw from a team finding their feet together.

Another League Two side were vanquished, the hosts created all the better chances, and they looked solid at the back despite the numerous changes that came at the break.

With striker Raul Correia – a former York City and Blackpool man – having signed not long before kick-off, Evatt was able to name eight contracted players in the starting line-up.

Correia was in a strong attacking line that also featured Jack Hindle – he of two goals against Carlisle on Tuesday – and Nathan Waterston, with John Rooney and Josh Kay backing them up.

Connor Brown, Dan Jones and Shaun Granite started in defence, alongside two trialists – one of them Jason Taylor – and in front of a new keeper, with Steve Arnold on trial with Football League Shrewsbury as he seeks a potential move closer to home and his family.

This game lacked the pace of the midweek win over Carlisle, and had more of the feel of a per-season encounter, though Evatt’s desire to field attacking sides who always push forward was still evident.

In fact, the attacking play was often more cohesive this time around, with passes flowing smoothly and players picked out – evidence of the tactics and structures becoming more familiar given as extra few days of training.

One such early move saw Taylor pick out Hindle – starting this game having come off the bench in the previous two – on the left with an arrowed pass. He took control well and played in Jones, but his cross to the near post was cleared before Waterston could connect.

It was slow going for the next 20 minutes, as moves came to nothing and neither side created anything of note, but Rooney pulled something out of the bag with a dipping effort from 20 yards that had Crewe keeper Dave Richards back-pedalling to gather.

Taylor played in Correia soon after down the left, but his effort was weak and at Richards, before Alex had their first opening – and the only one of the half – when Charlie Kirk shot well wide from distance.

Richards spilled a Hindle effort before the ball was cleared, then Jones cracked a rocket in from the left corner of the area that was heading for the top corner when the keeper turned it over the bar.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the first half was when Hindle hit another rocket that bended and dipped past Richards and hit the underside of the bar, coming down to Waterston, whose follow-up was well blocked by Nicky Hunt.

Only Hindle remained when the second half started, joined by new signing Matthew Elsdon and nine trialists, but it was man who had played the first 45 minutes with the first chance, another good 20-yard shot that new Crewe keeper Ben Garratt got down low to save.

It was inevitable there would be some issues with so many new men on the field, and a lack of communication in defence allowed Chris Porter free run at the ball on the 18-yard line, but a new trialist keeper was out quickly to save well with his feet.

Alex then beat the offside trap as Kirk escaped down the left, but his cross to the near post was put over the bar by the outstretched boot of substitute Alex Nicholls.

AFC started to push forward more and a flurry of chance came in the space of a few seconds, with Garratt saving from two trialists before a third effort was blocked and cleared.

Lewis Riley was played through for the visitors twice down the left of the area, the first resulting in a good save, and the second time seeing him shoot well over the bar.

The Bluebirds took the lead when a free-kick from 30 yards out in the middle of the park was rifled goalward by a trialist – identified by the visitors as former Crewe man Lee Molyneux – was parried by Garratt and a young trialist followed up to fire home.

The same man had a shout for a penalty turned down right on the full-time whistle, but the win was secured regardless, and another positive display from AFC was in the bag.

Barrow AFC First Half: Trialist, Connor Brown, Dan Jones, Trialist, Josh Granite, Trialist, Jack Hindle, John Rooney, Josh Kay, Nathan Waterston, Raul Correia.

Substitutes: Jack Barthram, Matthew Elsdon, plus trialists.

Crewe Alexandra First Half: Dave Richards, Perry Ng, George Ray, Eddie Nolan, Nicky Hunt, Callum Ainley, Paul Green, Harry Pickering, Charlie Kirk, Jordan Bowery, Chris Porter.

Substitutes: Ben Garratt, Josh Lundstrom, Brad Walker, Billy Sass-Davies, Luke Offord, Tom Lowery, Ryan Wittle, Oli Finney, James Jones, Alex Nicholls.