The opening forty five minutes of this pre-season friendly, switched at short notice to the newly named Progression Solicitors Stadium, was the most satisfying so far from a Workington perspective.
In the two previous games, Reds enjoyed plenty of possession but it was a different story against Ian Evatt’s National League outfit where much good work was done without the ball.
Barrow couldn’t make inroads against a well drilled unit in an even first half and, although they emerged comfortable winners by the end, Danny’s boys competed well in their toughest challenge so far.
A satisfied Danny Grainger said,
I’m really happy with how we have played, coming up against a good Conference team they have performed well.
They have to believe in how we play, and they do, and are already taking on board what we are trying to achieve.
We are taking small steps each week, making progress and the lads are ‘buying into it’ and it’s fantastic to see.
Although Barrow were denied what looked a certain penalty towards the end of the first half when Josh Calvert clattered into Josh Kay, they hardly set foot in Jim Atkinson’s area in that opening period.
Atkinson had to deal with a weak shot from Scott Quigley early in the game but was hardly troubled thereafter.
Indeed, it was former Reds’ ‘keeper, Joel Dixon, who made the best saves of the game, thwarting Conor Tinnion in the first half, and Dav Symington in the second, at 0-0 and 1-2 respectively.
The game changed within two minutes of the restart with the hosts opening the scoring aided by a slice of luck. A fortunate ricochet and his undoubted pace took Dior Angus clear of his marker and he placed the ball beyond Atkinson and into the far corner of the net.
And they doubled their advantage in the fifty-fourth minute when Oliver Greaves scored from close range as Reds suffered a temporary wobble.
Could they respond or would they collapse? We got the answer within two minutes with Kieran Maguire scoring a well taken goal – an unerring finish across Dixon after he cut in from the left flank.
It was at that point where Dixon saved Symington’s effort at point-blank range with another opportunity for an equaliser headed wide by Calvert soon after.
But it was Barrow who got the fourth goal of the afternoon with Reds, probably for the first time, showing naivety in defence.
Jack Hindle exploited a big gap down the left, with Reds’ defenders caught out of position, and, as Atkinson advanced off his line, the winger cleverly placed the ball into the opposite corner to secure Barrow’s first pre-season win.
Ash Kelly almost got a second for the west Cumbrians just before the end but a decent effort evaded substitute ‘keeper, Johnny Saltmer, only for the ball to drift wide of the far post.
Danny Grainger interview post match
Barrow Dixon (Saltmer), Barry (Brown), Trialist, Hird, Brough, Taylor (Trialist), Rooney, Kay (Hindle), Angus, Quigley (Harrison), Greaves (Waddington).
Workington Atkinson (Birkett), Kelly J (Hebson), Brockbank (Wordsworth), Smith (Rowntree), Calvert, Symington (Ivison), Hubbold (Bell), Waterston (Maguire), Allison (Kelly A), Tinnion, Casson C (Bowman).
Referee Anthony Backhouse, Brampton