Barrow safely negotiated their way into the hat for Round Two of the FA Cup with a professional display and a 4-0 victory over Banbury United on Saturday evening.
The ITV cameras were in attendance at The Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium, but an upset rarely looked on the cards as Mark Cooper’s side produced a solid display to inflict The Puritans’ first defeat of the season.
Barrow began the game with confidence and could have taken the lead on three minutes when a neat combination between Remeao Hutton and Jordan Stevens created an opportunity for Gordon, but he couldn’t make a clean connection with the shot, and it was cleared.
However, there were just eight minutes on the clock when The Bluebirds did strike. A ball forward was nodded on by Offrande Zanzala and Gordon was sharply on to it on the right of the area before rifling a clinical finish across keeper Ben Taylor and into the far bottom corner of the net.
It was the perfect start for Mark Cooper’s men though Banbury full-back Connor Roberts tried to respond with an effort from long-range but was it was always too high to trouble Paul Farman.
Hutton then skilfully won some space to cross from the right fringe of the penalty area and he found Gordon who met the ball with a firm header only for keeper Taylor to produce a smart save to tip it over the bar.
The Puritans came out with real menace at the start of the second half and whipped a couple of dangerous free kicks into the Barrow box, the second of which needed a decisive punch from Paul Farman as the ball threatened to drop for a Banbury player.
Stevens could have doubled Barrow’s lead when he set off on a sensational run from his own half, knocking the ball beyond the Banbury defence and then sprinting in behind only to be denied a wonderful goal by an excellent block from keeper Taylor.
However, it was only brief respite for the home side because Barrow did make it 2-0 on 55 minutes when Zanzala announced his return to the side by taking advantage of some hesitation in the Banbury defence to force the ball beyond the keeper and score despite the efforts of a recovering centre-back to clear off the line.
Banbury continued to show spirit and had a great spell in the aftermath of the second goal, hoisting some dangerous corner and free kicks into the Bluebirds area as they kept Cooper’s men on the back foot.
However, Barrow dealt with that period and started looking stronger again at the other end, Gordon almost helping himself to a second when he was fed in well by Brough, but his low shot flashed across goal and wide.
The game was up for the hosts on 79 minutes though when Zanzala pounced on yet more hesitant defending, and he went around keeper Taylor who brought him down – allowing Ollie Banks to add a third goal from the penalty spot.
Cooper then made changes as Gordon and Zanzala were replaced by Luke James and Josh Kay. The latter made an instant impact as, with his first touch, he drove clear of the Banbury defence and found Stevens and the former Leeds man drove a low finish into the net for 4-0.
Full Time: Banbury United 0 Barrow 4
Banbury United: B Taylor, C Roberts, Brown, Sharpe (Johnston 78), Langmead, Rasulo, Wreh, M Roberts (Reilly 88), Acquaye, Babos, Stevens (Landers 57).
Subs not used: Chapman, Rowe, W Taylor, Patterson.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton (Brown 54), J Jones, Platt, Grayson, Brough, Banks, Gotts (White 87), Stevens (Taylor 87), Gordon (Kay 82), Zanzala (James 82).
Subs not used: Lillis, Ellis, Arthur, Williams.
Referee: Rebecca Welch