Barrow 4,Fleetwood Town 0
A Fleetwood Town defence that had not conceded a goal in the Blue Square Bet Premier was unlocked three times in the first half as a rampant Barrow side made a mockery of the pre-match odds.
Danny Hurst, in goal against the club he served so well, will not have had many easier nights. Andy Cook completed his hat-trick late in the second half, the icing on the cake for a Bluebirds side better than Town in all aspects of the game. The fourth strike was an own goal by former-Barrow defender, Paul Edwards.
The appearance of Edwards and Hurst against their former clubs added further interest to an absorbing ‘derby’ fixture.
Town manager, Micky Mellon, made four changes to the team that overcame Hayes and Yeading at the weekend. The defence was changed for the first time this season with Matty Hughes making his league debut and Edwards moving back to his more familiar position on the left side. Alex-Ray Harvey and Keith Briggs started in midfield, Gareth Seddon up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
A careless header from skipper and former Barrow player, Steve McNulty, gave the Bluebirds an early corner and their vociferous fans were soon in good voice on a pleasant evening.
Town came back with Saturday’s hero, Jamie Milligan, threading a measured pass through to Richard Brodie, but the striker was unable to capitalise. Brodie did better in the 10th minute, holding the ball up well and giving Harvey a close-range chance which lobbed agonisingly wide.
Barrow upset the form book after eleven minutes when they took the lead through Andy Cook’s close range shot which gave Scott Davies no chance.
Errors were putting Town under pressure. A Davies clearance found Rutherford near halfway, and he tried an audacious and unsuccessful shot from deep as Town’s keeper ran back into position. Each mistake provided further fuel for a home crowd desperate to exact revenge after losing twice to their long-time rivals last season.
Barrow rubbed further salt into the wound after 35 minutes when the lively Rutherford nutmegged Hughes and sent a dipping shot across goal and Edwards slid the ball into his own net.
Things got even worse two minutes later when Jack Mackreth ran down the right and crossed superbly for Cook to rise and head powerfully, and unopposed, past Davies.
George Donnelly and Alan Goodall replaced Briggs and Hughes after the break, as Town responded to the first-half onslaught with a more attack-minded formation. It was Davies who continued to be the busier keeper, however, with three early touches including a lunge to the right to tip aside a dangerous shot from the ever-dangerous Ferrell.
The quality of Town’s through ball was not good enough to create that early opportunity to fight back and Barrow had enough resources to deal with any threat.
Adam Boyes tested Davies with a snap shot turned wide at the near post, then Davies had to spread himself after 75 minutes as the offside trap was beaten. Hurst’s first save came a minute later as he dived to his left to block Donnelly’s drive.
The victory was sealed with 10 minutes left when Cook got on the end of an inch-perfect cross from Paul Smith to complete his hat-trick.
There will have to be many lessons learned as Town face two in-form teams over the bank holiday, York at home on Friday and Wrexham away next Monday.
FLEETWOOD: Davies, Edwards, McNulty, Milligan, Brodie, Briggs (Donnelly), McGuire, Seddon (Vieira), Hughes (Goodall), Atkinson, Harvey. Subs not used: Hamilton, Brown.