Barrow fall to a narrow 3-2 defeat in Greater Manchester, as Pete Wilds’s side bow out of the Papa John’s Trophy at the hands of Ian Evatt’s Bolton Wanderers.
Goals from Josh Kay and Niall Canavan proved to be not quite enough as Barrow battled back from a two-goal deficit at the University of Bolton Stadium. Elias Kayunga’s close range finish just shy of the 70th minute proved to be the decisive goal to send the hosts into the Round of 16.
The Bluebirds gave everything to get something from the game, and showed their clear grievances with the officials when Bolton's Oladapo Afolayan appeared to use his arm to clear the ball from a corner in the 72nd minute, but Barrow's adamant cries for a penalty went begging.
A cagey opening 20 minutes to the encounter didn’t produce any clear-cut chances for either side, Ben Whitfield sent a ball towards Josh Gordon in the Bolton box, but Ricardo Almeida Santos arrived there first to clear it away from danger.
22 minutes in, Kay played through Josh Gordon on the left-hand side whose ball targeted Billy Waters in the box but Bolton’s Defence got in front and cleared well, from this MJ Williams’s long ball from just inside the Barrow half found Dapo Afolayan who converted well at the back post past Paul Farman to give Bolton the lead.
Barrow’s best chance of the opening 33 minutes came through George Ray, who got above his man and headed just goes over Joel Dixon’s bar from Ben Whitfield’s out swung corner.
Paul Farman produced a fantastic save to deny Jack Iredale’s attempt just outside the area in the 37th minute to palm it around the post for a corner, but only a couple of minutes later Bolton would have their second courtesy of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. The Trotters’ striker tapped in Kieran Sadlier’s ball across the box to put Wanderers in control of the game.
Barrow would half the deficit in the 42nd minute Ben Whitfield’s charging run and powerful initial shot was parried by Joel Dixon, with Josh Gordon taking the brunt of an impact in the build-up from the Bolton Keeper after following up the effort, leaving the ball to fall perfectly to Josh Kay who calmly finished from close range.
Pete Wilds’s side started the second half brightly and just shy of the 50th minute Ben Whitfield unleashed a wicked shot from outside the area after some great playmaking from Billy Waters, which caused Joel Dixon a little problem but kept out well to retain Bolton’s lead.
56 minutes in Barrow were level, Ben Whitfield floating in a sublime corner to Josh Gordon, who flicked it on from Niall Canavan at the back post, the skipper did the rest finishing from close range past Joel Dixon.
In the 69th minute, Dapo Afolayan’s shot deflected onto the post and the ball fell perfectly for Elias Kachunga to put Bolton back into the lead. Two minutes later Barrow had a brilliant chance to level the score line, but Joel Dixon pulled off an unbelievable save to deny Josh Gordon’s rocketed shot from breaking the net.
It was the 73rd minute that saw more drama unfold. The 585 travelling Barrow fans were immediately off their seats shouting for what they deemed to be a strong handball appeal in the Bolton box. Ben Whitfield’s corner was cleared away by Oladapo Afolayan, and the Barrow fans and players were adamant that an arm was used in doing so.
The Bluebirds would attack in the closing stages looking for the all-important equaliser with Sam Foley’s effort blocked in the stoppage time from a Niall Canavan Throw-in on the right-hand side, But it would be Bolton who would see out the contest to progress to the next round.
Full Time: Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Barrow
Attendance: 2,381 (585 away)