Last season Vanarama Conference North Champions Barrow returned to Victory Park for a pre-season friendly and showed that they are not intending on making up the numbers in the National League this season.
A display of smart finishing in the first half from their expensively assembled squad was the difference between the two sides. Barrow looked capable of scoring at will going forward with both Andy Cook and Ashley Grimes looking potent.
The Magpies meanwhile with Mark Ross playing in the centre and a trialist starting at right-back didn’t look as assured in defence as they normally would, but that is as much down to Barrows quality in attack as anything else.
Barrow’s opener on 18 minutes was claimed by left back Neil Ashton, his looping cross coming back off the woodwork only to rebound in off the back of Sam Ashton for an unwanted and unclaimed OG!
Three minutes later it was two, with former Rochdale, Bury and Walsall striker Ashley Grimes curled a shot into the bottom corner from distance.
Chris Almond, Sam Sheridan and James Dean all have openings, but only Sheridan testing Joel Dixon, forcing a smart save from the keeper.
The burley Cook added a third seven minutes before the interval, slotting under Ashton to give the score line an unfairly uneven look at the break.
After the restart Chorley looked to have upped a gear and immediately Josh Hine looked a threat on the right wing, crossing to Almond who shot just over the bar.
Adam Roscoe failed to get enough power onto a header from a Dale Whitham cross to trouble Dixon, but on 54 minutes the deficit was reduced when Hine, driving forward down the right flank cut in toward goal and beat Dixon with a rasping drive into the back of the net.
Almond, looking a different player to last season, slipped Dean in but was denied by the flag, then created his own opening, beating two defenders to the ball but was unable to direct is header at goal.
With a little over twenty minutes to go the biggest cheer of pre-season so far welcomed Darren Stephenson into the action for the first time since mid-December, when injury curtailed his season. The striker replace Dean up front, and though looked understandably tentative at times, it was great to see the popular forward back in action.
Substitute goalkeeper for the Magpies, US Virgin Islands international Erik Mozzo, on for Ashton midway through the second half, looked comfortable when called into action, saving well from both Jamie Walker and Cook.
At the final whistle, both sides will have been happy with the work-out, and but for two smart strikes and a lucky deflection the score line would have looked a little more like the performance deserved.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Liam Gibson, Adam Dodd, Andy Teague, Mark Ross, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Sam Sheridan, Chris Almond
Subs: ? Thompson, Harry Winter, Jack Lynch, Jake Cottrell, Jack Dorney, Darren Stephenson, Aaron Burns, ? Green, Erik Mozzo, ? Richardson
Goals: Neil Ashton (18), Ashley Grimes (21), Andy Cook (38), JOSH HINE (54)