REPORT | Wanderers 1 Barrow AFC 0

Zac Ashworth celebration

Zac Ashworth scored the first senior goal of his career to guide Wanderers into the second round of the Carabao Cup.

The identity of the Whites’ match-winner might have been something of a surprise as Ashworth provided the only goal just before half-time.

But the wing-back’s perfectly directed free-kick ensured there would no other shock as Ian Evatt’s men eased past their League Two opposition.

With Wanderers passing up some early chances in a lively start and then having to try and work their way through a packed defence for most of a game where they had almost exclusive possession it wasn’t an entirely straight-forward evening.

Zac Ashworth goal

But with Barrow only belatedly threatening with an injury-time flurry, Wanderers ultimately did what they had to do to make it back-to-back wins to start the season with a place in Wednesday night’s draw to go with their first three league points.

Wanderers made eight changes to their starting line-up following Saturday’s League One curtain-raiser but still fielded an imposing-looking side containing five of their summer signings, including West Bromwich Albion loanee Ashworth.

Only defenders Ricardo Almeida Santos and Jack Iredale and wing-back Josh Dacres-Cogley were utilised again from the off as the Whites looked to secure a passage through.

But the new-look front unit didn’t take long to gel as Wanderers created a number of early openings.

Only two minutes had gone when Carlos Mendes Gomes picked out Dan Nlundulu, whose deflected effort was palmed away by Barrow keeper Paul Farman.

Zac Ashworth team celebration

Iredale then almost repeated his weekend goal from another corner before Mendes Gomes passed up the best opportunity to date when he mis-cued in front of goal following a superb move which opened up the Bluebirds’ defence for Paris Maghoma to deliver the telling pass.

Maghoma oozed menace as Wanderers zipped the ball around in search of the opening goal but until it came Barrow were still just about in the contest and issued a reminder after half an hour when a drive from Junior Tiensia cannoned not too far wide of the target.

Often with nine outfield players to pass between them and the Barrow goal it wasn’t easy for Wanderers to find a way through and break the deadlock but two minutes before half-time they managed it direct from a free-kick.

Cameron Jerome earned the set-piece as he was fouled after spinning away from George Ray and from 22 yards out, Ashworth eyed up the bottom corner and duly located it with a perfectly struck low, curling left-footed strike.

Mendes Gomes chance

That did nothing to alter the flow as Barrow also started the second half camped on the edge of their penalty area in a bid to keep the Whites at arm’s length and not find themselves further behind.

The sheer weight of numbers in and around the box made a clear sight of goal almost impossible as most of Wanderers’ efforts hit a black shirt or were cleared in front of Farman.

The best chance of the half finally came at the start of seven minutes of injury-time but substitute Victor Adeboyejo saw his effort blocked by the Barrow keeper.

That gave the visitors the platform to finally throw men forward and try and force an equaliser.

But Wanderers stood firm to secure a second successive clean sheet which made a single goal enough take them into round two and the chance to enjoy a cup run.

Wanderers: Coleman; Forrester (Jones 84), Almeida Santos, Iredale; Thomason; Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Morley 74), Mendes Gomes (Dempsey 74), Ashworth; Nlundulu (Adeboyejo 74), Jerome (Charles 64). Substitutes: Baxter, Sheehan, John, Williams.

Booked: Thomason, Mendes Gomes, Iredale

Barrow: Farman; Feely (Worrall 80), Ray, Canavan; Warren, Foley, White (Spence 66), Campbell (Garner 66), Tiensia (Newby 80); Cotts; Duffus (Acquah 80). Substitutes: Lillis, Bray, Reeve, Etaluku.

Booked: Warren, Feely, Spence

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 4,871 (576 Barrow)

Read Time: 4 mins