Wrexham 1 Barrow AFC 3

The top teams in the National League have tended to bring the best out of Barrow AFC this season and never was this more the case than this magnificent victory on Wrexham’s home turf.

Anyone unfamiliar with these two teams will have been convinced the team in blue were the ones who started the night second in the table as Ian Evatt’s charges stunned their guests in a devastating opening 45.

The first half, quite simply, was the best they’ve produced since Evatt was appointed last summer, as goals from Dan Jones, Jacob Blyth and Lewis Hardcastle put them in a scarcely-believable position at the Racecourse Ground.

It was the ruthlessness their boss has been aching for and he can add this to the list of scalps, along with Solihull and Salford, that they have taken this season.

Four changes were made from the team that only just saw off Aldershot Town last Saturday, which included a return for Rhys Norrington-Davies, after a seven-week absence with a thigh injury.

Kyle Jameson, Steve Jennings and Blyth were the other players to come in, as injured duo Sam Hird and Connor Brown, as well as Jack Barthram and Rhys Turner dropped out.

It was two players retained from the weekend who combined to give Barrow the best possible start as Jones made the most of some poor marking to plant a header from Hardcastle’s corner into the net in just the third minute.

Evatt’s side had reverted to playing three at the back, with captain Jason Taylor moved back into defence, and their opening to the game had certainly unnerved their high-flying hosts.

John Rooney, who was up against one of his old clubs, was practically encouraged to shoot from outside the box. He obliged, and Wrexham ‘keeper Rob Lainton had to push his effort way.

The only negative of a terrific first 20 minutes for AFC was an injury to Dior Angus, who was unable to shake off the effects of a robust tackle from Kieran Kennedy. Jack Hindle replaced him in attack.

It did nothing to disrupt the visitors, however, as they doubled their lead after 24 minutes when Hindle found Josh Kay in space on the right and his superb low cross was swept in by Blyth at the near post.

The Dragons’ main threat was coming from set-pieces and they came close to halving Barrow’s lead when Kennedy headed Luke Young’s corner just over the bar.

But the Bluebirds were picking them off at the other end and made it 3-0 right on half-time as Hindle’s blocked shot rebounded to Norrington-Davies, whose cross was cushioned in by Hardcastle, all alone at the back post.

Wrexham were roundly booed off by their supporters at the break. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing, and neither could the hardy bunch in the away end.

While AFC’s fortunes on the pitch were looking up, they still weren’t having any luck with injuries, as they were forced to replace Barthram just five minutes after he had been brought on himself for Kay.

That was down to a poor challenge from former Bluebird Akil Wright, but it was fairly quiet at either end, save for a Jake Lawlor header from another Young corner.

Wrexham still looked jittery at the back, with Lainton just about beating Hindle to what was a poor back pass from Lawlor that drew further derision from the majority inside.

They finally had something to cheer with 12 minutes left and, not surprisingly, it came from a set-piece, as Kennedy nodded Young’s superb free kick past Joel Dixon, but this was just a consolation.

Wrexham (4-4-2): Lainton, Roberts, Kennedy, Lawlor, Jennings, McGlashan (Rutherford 54), Wright, Young, Tollitt, Oswell (Stockton 54), Beavon (Holroyd 77)

Subs not used: Dibble, Grant

Barrow AFC (3-1-4-2): Dixon, Jameson, Taylor, Jones, Jennings, Kay (Barthram 55, Molyneux 60), Rooney, Hardcastle, Norrington-Davies, Blyth, Angus (Hindle 21)

Subs not used: Saltmer, Turner

Referee: Simon Mather

Attendance: 4,613