Motherwell fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Barrow in the final pre-season friendly ahead of competitive football getting back underway this Saturday.
And it was a tough affair for the Steelmen, who fell behind from a set-piece inside ten minutes against a direct Barrow side.
The opening exchanges set the tone for the hosts, who pounded the ‘Well box with long throw-ins from full back Dan Jones – who was capable of dropping the ball inside the box from virtually anywhere in the Motherwell half.
Trevor Carson made his first appearance for the Steelmen behind a back four including new recruit Cédric Kipré.
Elliott Frear had a superb effort denied by the woodwork after five minutes and, despite his long throw, it was Jones’ left-foot which provided Richie Bennett with the opener inside ten minutes from a corner – as the midfielder lashed home beyond Carson from a bobbling delivery.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with neither keeper being kept overly busy at the Furness Building Society Stadium.
Richard Tait’s inch perfect cross towards the rampant run of Gaël Bigirimana nearly produced the leveller, but Asa Hall managed to block the midfielders header and turn it wide.
Down the opposite end, Kipré produced a goal-saving header to deny Jordan White a simple finish towards the dying ends of the opening 45.
Seven substitutes filtered their way on to the park throughout the first ten minutes of the second period, with McManus, Tanner, Bowman, Campbell, McMillan, Gordon and Livingstone all entering the match.
It looked as though Bigirimana’s stunning 25-yard freekick was the route back in to the game for Motherwell, but the midfielder’s sumptuous effort was matched by a superb save to keep Barrow in front.
The final few minutes ended in frantic fashion, when Cadden was dragged to the deck by the Barrow trialist stopper after getting his toe to the ball – yet the referee somehow waved the claims away.
Immediately down the other end, Frear’s miscued, deflected back pass forced Carson to make a tremendous save and limit the deficit to one.
Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Hammell, Kipré, Heneghan, Bigirimana, McHugh, Rose, Cadden, Frear, Fisher
Subs: Griffiths, McManus, Bowman, Clay, Tanner, Campbell, McMillan, Livingstone