Barrow AFC 3 Solihull Moors 0

Barrow AFC's matches this season have often had the feel of a violent rollercoaster that have left their fans emotionally drained, but their match against Solihull Moors at Holker Street was more like a lazy river.

This was as comfortable a win the Bluebirds have had since manager Ian Evatt took charge last year, with the game effectively over with still around half an hour to play.

As crazy as it sounds, AFC have actually played better than they did last Saturday in spells of some of their defeats - the first half at Woking, for example.

That's not to say they weren't very good on this occasion. On the contrary, they controlled the game throughout and were more clinical in attack while at the same time and were non-accommodating in defence.

They were, however, helped along the way by a desperately disappointing Solihull side who didn't show anything like the same desire and attitude Barrow displayed.

The Moors, strongly tipped for promotion this season, had failed to win any of their last four league games and needed penalties to get past Lowland League side Kelty Hearts in the Scottish Challenge Cup the previous week.

On this evidence, it's easy to see why they've slumped lately.

But back to focusing on the Bluebirds, who were at their opponents from the off - starting games quickly and on the front foot is something that really has improved since the season started.

It took them seven minutes to get their reward and it came from arguably their most in-form player at present, who has now has a fantastic record from set-pieces in the campaign.

Some pundits have questioned whether Rooney meant to catch Solihull 'keeper Ryan Boot out at his near post, but having seen him try his luck from a similar position earlier in the game, that was the case, although Boot should have done better.

There was no debating Rooney's second right on the stroke of half-time, as that was a thing of beauty.

With the free kick given just outside the area, it took some doing to lift the ball over the wall and into the net from there, but Rooney managed it by caressing his shot, almost Juan Mata-style, into the top corner.

Briefly, Rooney was Barrow's top scorer, but he was joined on five goals for the campaign within a minute of the restart by a man who was making his return after two games out with a thigh strain.

Solihull was architects of their own downfall by losing the ball in their own half, but what followed was incisive as Dior Angus drove through the middle before feeding Scott Quigley, who arrowed his effort into the bottom corner.

Quigley was another outstanding performer for AFC (Jason Taylor and Patrick Brough also caught the eye) and it was he who forced an early end to Tyrone Williams' afternoon, as he was sent off for two fouls on the striker that drew yellow cards.

After this 62nd-minute incident, the rest of the match was played with an intensity that made a mundane pre-season friendly look lively, but no matter. At least heart rates were at a normal level for once.

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