Dickov’s delight at first impression

Date published: 12 July 2010

Barrow 0, Athletic 2

PAUL DICKOV was a happy man after Athletic eased to a comfortable 2-0 pre-season win at Barrow.

On-trial winger Scott McLaughlin lashed in the opening goal three minutes before half-time and the game was put beyond the reach of the Blue Square Premier side midway through the second half after lively striker Lewis Alessandra capitalised on a goalkeeping error.

Fielding two separate line-ups either side of the break, Dickov — who ran the rule over a total of eight trialists — enjoyed a happy afternoon overall, aside from the fact that Chris Taylor came off in the first half due to injury.

“It is good to get a victory, but the result wasn’t too important,” Dickov said.

“I have played with teams that have won every pre-season game and also teams that have lost every one.

“The main thing for us is that the lads work on getting their fitness up.

“I am delighted with their attitude, though we have a lot of things still to work on.

“I can’t complain with


“Lewi (Alessandra) has looked great this first two weeks and he took his goal well.

“I am delighted with all the players both first half and second.

“Towards the end of the game it got a bit stretched, which I wasn’t too happy about.

“But all in all I told the boys beforehand that it was a fitness exercise and to try to take on board what we have done in the last two weeks.

“Believe me they have worked hard in training, and it was pleasing.

“A clean sheet, two goals — it’s easy, this job!”

The inclusion of one ‘Vincent Kompany’ in Athletic’s line-up on the team sheets distributed around the press box caused consternation for one local radio reporter at Holker Street, who wondered how on earth Athletic had managed to pull off the transfer coup of the century.

Truth was, the mysterious left-back was in fact the £6million Manchester City centre-back’s on-trial brother Francois, formerly of Macclesfield Town.

Also turning out in the first half for Athletic were Jason Beardsley, formerly of Derby, at right-back, ex-Stoke City academy centre-back Rod MacDonald, the familiar figure of former Wigan midfielder Jason Jarrett, Irish amateur striker Dean Kelly and goal scorer McLaughlin, who last season plied his trade north of the border at Airdrie United.

None stood out too brightly in an evenly-fought opening half in which hard-working midfielder Dean Furman came close to netting with a free-kick that had to be beaten away by Bluebirds goalkeeper Steven Drench.

It was Furman who soon after teed up McLaughlin’s powerful left-foot strike from the edge of the area that left Drench rooted to the spot.

With Taylor having been replaced by Phil McGrath, Athletic made 10 changes for the second half.

Former Liverpool academy midfielder Sean Highdale came on for Athletic as did Histon right-back Lanre Oyebanjo, who impressed with some strong forward runs.

Barrow striker Nick Chadwick forced Josh Ollerenshaw into a smart low save as the home side came back into the game before McGrath’s strong run down the left and sweeping cross was

palmed invitingly into Alessandra’s path by stretching goalkeeper Tim Deasy.

Barrow midfielder Marc Goodfellow almost pulled one back with a deflected shot Ollerenshaw had to be alert to tip over, but Athletic kept a clean sheet on a low-key but satisfying first pre-season outing.

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