Bluebirds shot down by late Bolton strike
Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Barrow AFC
Less than a week on from their last gasp winner at Oldham, Barrow were on the receiving end of a late goal, as Shaun Miller’s stoppage time strike sank a battling Bluebirds side, at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Caretaker manager Rob Kelly was forced into a change from the side that beat Oldham midweek, with Bobby Thomas coming in to replace the injured Tom Davies, in an otherwise unchanged line-up, hoping to build on the impressive outing at Boundary Park.
In a keenly contested first half, both sides had passages of good play without really troubling either goalkeeper until Eoin Doyle flashed a header wide from a Declan John cross.
With Bolton beginning to take control of the game, Joel Dixon was called into action to save from Oladapo Afolayan’s shot from the edge of the area, but it was Barrow who were to have the best chance of the half.
Good work down the right by Scott Quigley give him the opportunity to slip a pass to the marauding Jason Taylor, but the midfielder’s side-footed strike was kept out by Matt Gilks when he looked odd-on to score.
The Trotters counter-attacked and Antoni Sarcevic drew a fingertip save from Dixon, with Neil Eardley reacting quickest to remove the danger, meaning both sides headed into the break goalless.
Barrow had a fine chance to take the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but Patrick Brough was robbed of the ball just as he was in a position to shoot after he was played in by Quigley.
It was a warning that the hosts heeded and they began to assert themselves, with Kieran Lee shooting wide of Dixon’s upright before Sarcevic again tested Dixon, this time with a powerful strike at the back post, while the Barrow stopper also had to be on his toes to deny the dangerous Doyle.
Nathan Delfouneso kept Dixon busy as Bolton continued to try and pick their way through the organised and committed Barrow ranks as the game reached it’s conclusion, but there was still time for some drama at both ends.
A late Bluebirds attack ended when Jamie Devitt appeared to have his feet clipped in the Bolton penalty area, but the noisy Barrow appeals fell on deaf ears as the referee waved for play to continue.
While a Barrow winner might have been harsh on the hosts, Kelly’s men looked set to claim a much deserved share of the spoils as the clock ticked into the the third minute of injury time. Unfortunately, Miller had other ideas and seized his opportunity to snatch the points with a close-range finish, breaking Bluebirds hearts.
Bolton Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Gilks; Jones, Santos, Baptiste, John; Williams, Lee; Isgrove (Delfouneso 70), Sarcevic, Afolayan (Gnahoua 70); Doyle (Miller 81). Subs not used: Tutte, Thomason, Elbouzedi, Jackson.
Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; J.Jones, Thomas, Brough; Eardley, Barry, J.Taylor, Banks (Devitt 78), Ntlhe (Kay 72); James, Quigley. Subs not used: Lillis, Goodridge, Bramall, Sea.