Barrow’s return to Holker Street ended in defeat as Oladapo Afolayan’s first half goal was enough to hand Bolton Wanderers a pre-season friendly win on Saturday.
The Trotters’ forward pounced just before half time to score the only goal of the game but Mark Cooper’s men gave another good account of themselves and can feel hard done by not to have at least snatched a draw.
Bolton looked the brighter of the two sides in the early stages, but Barrow began to settle as time wore on and could have gone in front inside ten minutes only for Josh Gordon’s header to flash wide of the front post after a great delivery from the right from Remeao Hutton.
The Bluebirds continued to look the more threatening and caused some real problems for the Wanderers’ rearguard with some inventive play down both flanks and good delivery into the area.
Matt Platt came close to opening the scoring from a right-wing corner when he got up highest to meet the ball, but his looping header dropped just wide of the far post.
The Trotters stole in front five minutes before the break though; Oladapo Afolayan applied the finishing touch from close range after good work from Eoin Doyle.
The second half was punctuated with a smattering of substitutions for both sides as Mark Cooper and Ian Evatt both looked to get minutes into their players’ legs ahead of the big kick-off.
As a result, the fluency of the game was affected and clear-cut chances were few and far between, though Josh Sheehan did fire just over the bar for the visitors.
Barrow almost snatched a brilliant equaliser on 76 minutes when the ball bounced around dangerously inside the Bolton box before Dimitri Sea let fly with an astonishing overhead kick which drew a fantastic save from former Holker Street favourite Joel Dixon.
Sea again caused problems a few minutes later when he found space in the area but the ball was again clawed away by Dixon before Josh Kay’s follow-up effort was blocked by a defender.
Full Time: Barrow 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
Barrow: Farman, Hutton (Kay 62), Platt, Ellis (Brown 62), Ntlhe (Grayson 62), Brough (Burns 74), Beadling (Devitt 62), Banks (Taylor 62), White, Gordon (James 62), Trialist (Sea 46).
Subs not used: Lillis, Moloney.
Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Jones (Crawford 77), Brockbank, Baptiste (Senior 77), John (Gordon 68), Williams (Sarcevic 55), Lee (Sheehan 55), Thomason (Bakayoko 68), Delfouneso (Darcy 59), Afolayan (Politic 63), Doyle (Tutte 68).
Subs not used: Hutchinson.
Referee: Marc Edwards