Barrow AFC 3 Solihull Moors 0

Two free kicks from the in-form John Rooney helped Barrow AFC to a comfortable victory over a disappointing Solihull Moors, who barely laid a glove on them.

It certainly gives Rooney a much happier memory from facing Solihull at home than last season, when he missed a stoppage time in a narrow defeat.

He then scored the winner in the reverse game a few months later and he was the Moors’ nemesis again as he made it four free kicks from the campaign to make it five goals for the midfielder overall this season.

He’s level at the top of the Bluebirds’ scoring charts with Scott Quigley, who marked his return from a thigh strain with an unerring finish that equalled Ian Evatt’s biggest win as manager.

It’s also back-to-back wins for the first time this season for AFC, although they won’t have too many as straightforward as this for the rest of the campaign.

Quigley was back up front in the only change from last Saturday’s victory at Aldershot Town as he came in for Byron Harrison in what was a straight swap.

Solihull suffered a blow before kick-off when they were forced into a late change up top, with Paul McCallum having to pull out injured and he was replaced in the line-up by Alex Nicholls.

Barrow began in a lively fashion, with Quigley taking the ball away from Callum Howe before his shot from 20 yards was held by Solihull goalkeeper Ryan Boot.

Rooney then gave the Bluebirds the lead in the seventh minute when he whipped in a free kick from the left wing that Boot could only palm into the net at his near post.

It has to go down as a mistake from the stopper, but credit also to Rooney for catching him out and it was a deserved opener for AFC for the way they’d opened the game, in any case.

The hosts continued to make most of the running, with Dior Angus bursting into the area off Brad Barry’s pass before pushing his effort across goal and wide.

The match then entered a rather scrappy phase, with the play not flowing thanks to a referee that was sometimes too quick to put his whistle to his lips.

Sam Hird almost inadvertently added a second goal for the Bluebirds when Rooney’s free kick from the right came off him and trickled just wide.

Right on the stroke of half-time, Rooney repeated his party piece by beautifully lifting a free kick from just outside the box into the top corner to put Barrow 2-0 ahead at the break.

Two became three less than a minute into the second half, as Angus took the ball down the pitch before feeding Quigley, who shot clinically into the bottom corner to mark his return in style.

Rooney then had a chance to complete a hat-trick of free kicks in the 58th minute, but this time he could only lift his strike from just over 25 yards over the bar.

It then went from bad to worse for Solihull, as they were reduced to ten men after 62 minutes, as Williams was shown a second yellow card for tripping Quigley just outside the area.

The resulting free kick, of course, brought up Rooney and this time he forced a good save from Boot with an effort that was heading toward the top corner.

The Moors hadn’t been able to fashion any clear chances, which is perhaps why centre-back Alex Gudger tried to score with a free kick from his own half. Joel Dixon was able to watch it go over.

With the result no longer in doubt, the rest of the match did drift away, as Barrow coasted what was by some distance their most comfortable three points of the season so far.

Barrow AFC (3-4-1-2): Dixon, Hird, Platt, Brough, Barry, Rooney, Taylor, Kay, Dyson (Hardcastle 63), Angus (Hindle 68), Quigley (Harrison 77).

Subs not used: Brown, Granite.

Solihull Moors (4-3-3): Boot, Williams, Howe, Gudger, Reckord, Osborne (Neufville 51), Storer, Carter, Stenson (Vaughan 58), Nicholls (Hancox 53), Hawkridge.

Subs not used: Rowley, Nesbitt.

Referee: Joe Johnson

Attendance: 1,152

Bluebirds star man: John Rooney