Barrow V Carlisle United 21st July 2012
Holker Street, (also known as the Furness Building Society Stadium for sponsorship purposes)
Barrow Association Football Club is an English football club founded in 1901 based in the town of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. They currently play in the Conference National, Barrow play their home games at Holker Street, close to the town centre and approximately 0.5 km from Barrow Railway Station. The club spent over fifty years in the Football League between 1921 and 1972, achieving promotion to Division 3 by finishing 3rd in the Football League Fourth Division in the 1966/67 season. The highest league period in the club's history was to be short-lived and a return back to Division 4 came after relegation in 1969/70 season. Fortunes never improved and at the end of the 1971/72 season, after an unsuccessful bid for re-election, Barrow were voted out of the Football League, to be replaced by Hereford United of the Southern League. Barrow have since spent their time in the top two levels of non-league football and have twice won non-league football's most prestigious cup competition, the FA Trophy – in 1990 and 2010, becoming the only club to have won the Trophy at both old and new Wembley Stadium. The current site of Holker Street was previously land owned by the Furness Railway, who had used the land as a rubbish tip. It had been converted into a football pitch by Hindpool Athletic football club, though no stands had been built and the pitch had little grass; indeed, pieces of refuse which had been left on the site remained an obstacle for many years after the ground had been developed. Barrow A.F.C., who had been founded in 1901 and had spent eight seasons playing at a variety of grounds in Barrow, moved in and took a five year rent from Furness Railway in 1909.
The game itself is one I had been looking forward to for a while. Up until a Couple of Years ago I had always worked for the Railway and had never been to Barrow, After changing jobs I had been assigned to deliver various internal mail to Ulverston,Dalton and Barrow for the last year at least, travelling past the Holker Street ground on the way out of Barrow every day. I kept saying I would go to a conference game at some point, but I decided to wait as I thought that Eventually Carlisle would play a pre season friendly there to which I was right and today was that day.
We decided to make a day of it (Myself, Misses Eldest son and Niece) and after visiting South Lakes Wild Animal Park we went swimming at the local baths, then for dinner at the local wetherspoons The Furness Railway. After a short time the bar started only selling one drink per person as they were worried about the Carlisle Idiots buying drink for there under age pals, which was a pain but eventually we decided to wander up to the ground. We were able to park just round the corner on a side street and walk round the ground to take a few photos. I also noticed there was a match going on, on the adjacent pitch home to Barrow Junior side Barrow Wanderers (I Think).
The Floodlights at Barrow Are fantastic for a non league side and are a rare traditional sight
The game itself didn’t live up to my expectations and was a disappointing 4-0 easy win for the North Cumbrians. Hardly Surprising giving that the South Cumbrians had Played Burnley on the Thursday night and are due to play Morecambe on Monday night as well. Andy Welsh, started the goal scoring and after a long Pass from Peter Murphy he lifted the ball over the Barrow Keeper into the back of the net. Ten min’s later and it was 2-0 a scrappy tap in from Matt Robson after a good shot from James Berrett. In the Second half United made a few Changes and about a Minute after coming on Mark Beck was left completely unmarked inside the box and was able to chest the ball down and poke it into the bottom Corner. Barrow came back into the game a little and had one or 2 half chances as Carlisle threw a few more First Years Pro’s on but they weren’t really testing the Carlisle Defence. The score line got worse for them when 5 min’s before the end they gave away a silly penalty after a hand ball from a Barrow Defender and Mark Beck took the resulting Penalty to score and take his pre season tally to 4 in 3 Games.
All in all a comfortable display from the Carlisle Lads and Barrow really disappointed me as I wanted to see more. Were Carlisle too good ? or were they so poor ? As one fan on Twitter put it The most encouraging thing about pre-season so far? The fact that none of the first year pros look out of place alongside experienced players.
The game was slightly spoiled by the Behaviour of a few small bunch of drunken 16-18 year olds stood at the front of the terrace. One of which had some sort of altercation with another fan who had a small child with him which was disgusting and had to be removed from the ground by the Local Plod after just 15 Min’s. The fan with the child later left at half time and I doubt whether the small child will be too keen to go games again as he was crying at one point. Reports of these lads causing problems on the trains home as well.
If these are the next generation of Carlisle Fans god help us ?