Dapo Afolayan’s first-half goal extended Bolton Wanderers’ unbeaten run during pre-season as they returned to Ian Evatt’s former club to claim a hard fought victory at Holker Street.
The former West Ham man, who penned a three-year deal with Wanderers in the summer, put the finishing touches to an inch-perfect Eoin Doyle lay-off five minutes before the interval.
Evatt’s men followed up from Tuesday’s victory against Preston North End with another diligent display against a Barrow side who were determined to get one over their former boss under the guidance of former Forest Green Rovers Manager, Mark Cooper.
The visitors almost got their noses in front after four minutes, but former Academy player Mark Ellis cleared Gethin Jones’ effort off the line.
The Bluebirds had some early joy down the right-hand side with Remeao Hutton putting in a couple of testing crosses into the box.
Josh Gordon and Patrick Brough were the recipients on each occasion but proved to be wasteful as they met the ball at the far post.
Doyle, returning to the squad after missing a couple of games, was inches away from latching onto a deep Jones cross as Wanderers looked to get an early lead.
Matt Platt should have done better from Brough’s corner as he glanced a header well wide of goal.
Afolayan though broke the deadlock with the game’s first bit of genuine quality when he weaved his way into the box after running on to Doyle’s pass before placing his effort into the bottom corner.
Evatt made a series of changes shortly after the restart and the substitutes included Dennis Politic who he brought onto standing ovation from the 600 travelling Wanderers fans who showed their delight at the returning Romanian.
It was the winger's first appearance in 12 months following the knee injury he endured last summer.
It didn't take long for him to be involved in some attacking action, and his low corner was steered just wide of goal by fellow sub Antoni Sarcevic.
The duo combined with a lovely one-two shortly afterwards but Politic’s shot from distance went wide of the target.
Joel Dixon, returning to his former club, had largely been a spectator during the contest but he pulled off a stunning save with 15 minutes to go when he kept out Dimitri Sea’s overhead kick from point-blank range.
Adam Senior, who had earlier replaced Alex Baptiste, headed away Josh Kay’s curling effort as Barrow threatened to steal a draw in the latter stages of the game.
But Wanderers saw out the game with another pre-season victory on the Cumbrian coast.
Barrow: Farman, Ellis (Brown 62), Platt, Ntlhe (Grayson 62), Beadling (Devitt 62), Brough (Burns 74), White, Banks (Taylor 62), Trialist (Sea 46), Hutton (Kay 62), Gordon (James 62).
Unused Subs: Lillis, Moloney
Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Jones (Crawford 77), Brockbank, Baptiste (Senior 77), John (Gordon 68), Williams (Sarcevic 55), Lee (Sheehan 55), Thomason (Tutte 68), Delfouneso (Darcy 59), Afolayan (Politic 64), Doyle (Bakayoko 68).
Unused Sub: Hutchinson.
Goal: Afolayan (40)