Barrow AFC 2 Morecambe 0

Just like last Saturday against Workington, it took Barrow AFC 45 minutes to get going, but by the end it was fair to say a League Two side had been outplayed after Morecambe were dispatched at Holker Street.

Manager Ian Evatt will have been delighted with what he saw from the Bluebirds after half-time, as they produced their most effective half of football so far in pre-season.

One week on from being slightly embarrassed by Furness Select on the same pitch, preparations for the National League campaign are well and truly back on track.

They needed a huge slice of luck for their opener on 61 minutes with an own goal more suited to pinball than the ‘beautiful game’ but from taking the lead, AFC bombarded the Shrimps’ goal and deservedly added a second through a lovely strike from Josh Kay.

Barrow goalkeeper Joel Dixon will have had his heart in his mouth for a couple of seconds when Cole Stockton tried to lob him from 35 yards after his poor kick, but thankfully the shot was overhit and went harmlessly over.

Morecambe began the sharper and came close in the 12th minute when Stockton’s cross from the right ran through to Jordan Cranston, whose effort produced a good save from Dixon.

The Bluebirds stopper then came to the rescue again when he did superbly in a one-on-one situation with Rhys Oates, standing his ground before making a very good block.

Again, the hosts looked vulnerable to the ball over the top when Luke Conlan picked out Oates, who was through again, only for Dixon to make a very good challenge to continue his impressive first half.

There were a couple of injury blows for Barrow before half-time, as Scott Quigley and Mark Waddington were both forced off with what can only be hoped are minor knocks.

Evatt decided to get the rest of his substitutions out of the way at the break and one of the new players almost gave the Bluebirds the lead eight minutes after the restart.

Oliver Greaves was put in behind and he attempted to dink the ball over Morecambe ‘keeper Barry Roche, who got a touch to divert the shot behind for a corner.

Johnny Saltmer had replaced Dixon in goal and it was then his turn to shine when he made a terrific block to deny Stockton.

AFC then took the lead with one of the most bizarre goals you’ll see as Byron Harrison got in front of Roche before being crowded out, only for a Morecambe defender’s clearance to hit his ‘keeper and loop into the net via the post for an own goal.

A superb second for Barrow almost followed when John Rooney played a peach of a pass down the right for the galloping Dior Angus, who bore down on goal before being denied by Roche.

It was all the home side now and Rooney fired a long-ranger wide before Roche somehow got in the way of Angus’s shot from point-blank range after Kay’s ball across the face of goal.

Kay finally doubled their lead in real style with seven minutes left, bending in a low shot beyond Roche’s reach from 25 yards.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon (Saltmer 45), Barry, Hird (Elsdon 45), Granite, Brough (Brown 45), Rooney, Taylor (Greaves 45), Waddington (Fox 41), Hindle (Angus 45), Quigley (Harrison 40), Penfold (Kay 45).

Morecambe (4-4-2): Roche, Buxton (Brewitt 41), Lavelle, Old (Sutton 65), Conlan, O’Sullivan (Howard 78), Kenyon, Wildig (Jagne 65), Cranston, Stockton (Ellison 73), Oates (Mendes Gomes 65).

Subs not used: Halstead, Brownsword, Trialist, Hawley.

Referee: Marc Edwards.

Attendance: 704