Barrow AFC 3 Workington 1

A FEW days later than expected, Barrow AFC have their first win of pre-season, but this friendly clash with fellow Cumbrians Workington was something of a slow burner.

Chances were few and far between in the first half - in fact around 20 minutes passed between anything of note at one point - and unfortunately for AFC, they picked up where they left off against Furness Select.

Passes were rushed and inaccurate, they were standing off opponents and they were actually creating less chances than they did in that disappointing second half last Tuesday night. Just like Furness Select in midweek, Workington seemed to want it that bit more, playing some very good football in the process.

The Reds' situation is similar to that faced by the Bluebirds last summer. For Ian Evatt, read Danny Grainger, who is in his first managerial appointment just after retiring as a player and has had a rebuilding job on his hands.

On the basis of this match, they should be a force in Division One North West of the Northern Premier League in the coming campaign and in the first 45 minutes, they more than matched Barrow.

They had the best chance of it, with a lovely move leading to Connor Tinnion being played in behind Patrick Brough, which led to Joel Dixon closing down the angle and making a good block.

Maybe fuelled by the sense of injustice of having appeals for what looked a stonewall penalty waved away after Josh Calvert blatantly took out Josh Kay just before half-time, AFC were a much different prospect in the second half.

One of the big positives of pre-season so far has been the sharpness of Dior Angus. He has repeatedly had the beating of his full back in the times he's been on the pitch and within two minutes of the restart he provided some real end product.

Put into space by a fine pass from Oliver Greaves, Angus ghosted past Liam Brockbank before slotting the ball between Reds 'keeper Jim Atkinson's legs for the opener.

Seven minutes later, provider turned scorer as Greaves held off a defender before finishing clinically, after being put through by a lovely reverse pass from Scott Quigley, who the Bluebirds made much better use of after the break.

What does need eradicating before the trip to Wrexham on August 3, however, is the sort of carelessness that led to Workington quickly pulling one back.

A couple of errors from Matt Elsdon and Jason Taylor led to Kieran McGuire, who looked lively for the Reds after coming on at half-time, finishing well.

McGuire almost set up an equaliser for David Symington, who was denied from close range by Dixon, before Jack Hindle made the game safe when he rolled the ball into the bottom corner, following good hold-up play from Byron Harrison and a killer ball from Mark Waddington.

Another positive was how trialists Harrison and David Fox looked to be getting used to those already under contract at Holker Street once they came on.

While this was still far from perfect, it feels as though Barrow's preparations for 2019/20 are now back on the rails.

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