Barrow AFC 3 Workington 1

Barrow AFC picked up their first win of pre-season as a much-improved performance in the second half allowed them to get the better of Workington at Holker Street.

In a match that was switched from the Reds’ Borough Park ground, the Bluebirds had picked up from where they had left off in their shock defeat against Furness Select on Tuesday night in the first half.

Passes were going astray and there was little tempo in AFC’s game, but that changed after the break as goals from Dior Angus, Oliver Greaves and Jack Hindle – all classy ones – improved the mood.

They were made to work hard by Workington, who gave a very good account of themselves, and while they won’t be getting carried away by beating a team three leagues below them, this was still far more encouraging.

Holker Street’s busy period continues next Tuesday with a visit from Morecambe – about as close the club gets to ‘near neighbours’ in professional football – and they’ll head into that after eventually getting the reaction manager Ian Evatt wanted.

Barrow had picked up a few niggles during the week, which meant captain Josh Granite, Lewis Hardcastle and Morgan Penfold had to sit this game out, although Jason Taylor was fit to return.

In the 12th minute, Scott Quigley was given time to shoot from just outside the area, but his low effort was comfortably held by Workington goalkeeper Jim Atkinson.

Overall, however, it was a fairly scrappy opening in which the Bluebirds struggled for coherence.

They almost fell behind when a lovely Reds move down the right led to Jay Kelly playing Connor Tinnion in behind and it needed Joel Dixon to make a good block after closing down the angle.

AFC weren’t creating anything as clear-cut, which was mostly down to them rushing things in possession. Pre-season or not, they simply weren’t retaining the ball well enough.

However, they really should have been awarded a penalty after 42 minutes when Josh Calvert somehow got away with scything down Josh Kay when he was through on goal.

It remained goalless at the break, but the deadlock was broken within two minutes of the second half when Greaves found Angus in space down the right and he beat Liam Brockbank before finishing well past Atkinson.

A well-worked second goal for Barrow arrived after 54 minutes when Quigley held up the ball before playing a lovely pass through for Greaves, who held off a defender before sliding a shot into the net.

However, the Bluebirds’ sloppy side returned three minutes later, as Matt Elsdon’s misjudgement was compounded by Taylor kicking the ball against Kieran McGuire, who went on to produce a good finish across Dixon.

The AFC lead was then nearly wiped out when Dixon denied David Symington from point-blank range after the lively McGuire had rolled the ball across the face of goal.

It saved Dixon from a post-match earful, as it was his poor kick that led to the chance in the first place and McGuire went on to threaten again when he flicked a dangerous Sam Smith cross over.

Barrow then restored their two-goal cushion in real style with 13 minutes left when Byron Harrison laid the ball off for Mark Waddington, whose superb pass put Hindle in the clear and he calmly finished into the bottom corner.

Workington continued to plug away and almost had their second goal of the afternoon late on when Ash Kelly won a footrace with Elsdon before shooting wide of the far post.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon (Saltmer 67), Barry (Brown 56), Hird, Trialist (Elsdon 45), Brough, Rooney, Taylor (Fox 60), Greaves (Waddington 56), Angus, Quigley (Harrison 60), Kay (Hindle 50).

Workington (4-2-1-3): Atkinson (Birkett 87), J Kelly (Hebson 55), Smith (Rowntree 74), Calvert, Brockbank (Wordsworth 63), Hubbold (Bell 74), Casson (Bowman 68), Tinnion, Symington (Ivisson 85), Waterston (McGuire 45), Allison (A Kelly 55).

Referee: Anthony Backhouse Attendance: 470