Barrow’s warm-up campaign came to a close with defeat to Southport on Saturday as two early goals did the damage for the home side at The Pure Stadium.
Ollie Banks was on target early in the second period to halve Southport’s advantage, but The Bluebirds could find no further way through to goal and the hosts hung on for the win.
It was an awful start for The Bluebirds as Russ Benjamin rattled the bar with a powerful drive inside the first minute before the ball was cleared away for a corner from which Adam Anson opened the scoring with a close-range glancing header.
Barrow were still reeling from that setback when the hosts made it 2-0. This time some well-worked football around the edge of the area opened up The Bluebirds defence and allowed Jack Bainbridge to sweep home a neat finish.
Mark Cooper’s men began to recover their composure as time wore on and could have pulled one when Banks’ deep free kick from the left picked out Dimitri Sea at the far post, but the front man’s header dropped wide.
It was a similar story when Banks’ corner from the left picked out Mark Ellis in the same part of the box as this time the defender saw his header go wide of the upright.
Banks’ deliveries continued to cause problems for the Southport defence and Sea could have levelled from another dangerous corner, but his header was held by keeper Cam Mason.
Mason had to be alert on the half hour when Banks dropped a wonderful ball over the top into the path of Sea but this time the Southport keeper reacted quickly to smother at the striker’s feet.
The impressive Banks gave Barrow a lifeline five minutes into the second half when he arrived on the edge of the box to rifle an unstoppable low shot into the bottom corner and reduce the arrears.
And The Bluebirds could have been level on 51 minutes when Remeao Hutton got forward well down the right before seeing his powerful drive come back off the crossbar.
Paul Farman was called into action on the hour mark as Southport began to look more menacing once again. The keeper first saved well from Marcus Carver’s back post header before then pulling off a solid double save to keep the hosts at bay just minutes later.
The summer signing from Carlisle was busy again on 75 minutes when Connor Woods wriggled into some space inside the box and let fly with a powerful shot but again Farman was equal to it and brilliantly tipped it over the bar.
At the other end, Banks almost snatched the equaliser when his low shot was well tipped round the post by Mason before Matt Platt’s effort from the resultant corner took a wicked deflection and looped on to the top of the bar on its way behind.
Luke James produced a smart turn to buy a yard inside the area to have a shot on goal but again Mason got down well to save and the referee waved away protests for a foul on Patrick Brough in the aftermath as Barrow players appalled for a penalty.
Full Time: Southport 2 Barrow 1
Southport: Mason, Oliver, J Doyle (Munro 69), Benjamin (Trialist 69), Anson, Tharme, Woods, Carver (Vasallo 69), C Doyle, Hmami, Bainbridge.
Subs not used: MunroMcMillan.
Barrow: Farman, Ntlhe, Platt, Ellis (Brown 63), Hutton, Taylor (White 46), Banks, Grayson (Devitt 63), Brough, Sea (Kay 46), Gordon (James 63).
Subs not used: Lillis, Moloney.
Referee: Dean Watson