Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-0 BarrowShaun Miller came off the bench for the second Saturday in a row to earn Bolton Wanderers a deserved victory as they made it five wins on the spin against a stubborn Barrow.
The striker hit his third goal of the campaign to send his side home with the win following his heroics at Southend United just a week earlier.
Looking to go home with a stalemate, the visitors, making their first-ever trip to the University of Bolton Stadium, appeared to have frustrated Ian Evatt’s men, who had over 70% of possession throughout the game.
But substitute Miller had the final say yet again to propel Wanderers to seventh spot in the table.
The Wanderers manager made two changes from the side that beat Scunthorpe United in midweek.
Kieran Lee and Antoni Sarcevic came back into the starting eleven ahead of George Thomason and Nathan Delfouneso who were named amongst the substitutes.
Wanderers started with energy and purpose during the opening stages seeing plenty of the ball.
Declan John had a thunderous volley blocked by a Kgosi Ntlhe after receiving it from Isgrove’s corner.
John’s cross into the box shortly afterwards resulted in Doyle’s glancing header going narrowly wide.
Wanderers almost took the lead after 26 minutes when Dapo Afolayan’s near post headed from Lloyd Isgrove’s cross was somehow steered behind for a corner by Joel Dixon.
The hosts were well and truly on top but were up against a stubborn defence.
Afolayan’s shot on the turn after smart build-up play was blocked by a defender was Wanderers upped the tempo.
Ricardo Almeida Santos’ 45-yard pass found Isgrove in space and the winger’s centre into the box was cleared before it could find Doyle.
Afolayan’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Joel Dixon who had to dive low to prevent the ball from going beyond him.
A rare attack by Barrow saw Gilks make a vital save to keep out Jason Taylor from close range after he'd latched onto Scott Quigley's pass-back.
Both sides remained unchanged as they took to the field for the second half.
John’s powerful right-footer was blocked by Bobby Thomas as Wanderers looked to seize the initiative just after the restart.
At the other end, Jones tracked by superbly after Barrow broke following a Wanderers attack. The defender got a foot in, to rob possession from Patrick Brough after the defender was shaping up to shoot following a counter attack led by Quigley.
At the other end, Wanderers broke well at pace and Jones cross into the box was cleared for a corner.
Saracevic’s well-struck volley at the far post was somehow kept out by Dixon after Afolayan found the Wanderers’ skipper following a good through ball from Isgrove, as Wanderers continued to probe.
Almeida Santos’ long-range pass found Afolayan whose ball made its way to Eoin Doyle. The Irishman struck the ball well from the edge of the box but Dixon was well-placed to catch it.
Evatt made a double substitution with just over 20 minutes remaining when Gnahoua and Delfouneso came on for Afolayan and Isgrove.
Within seconds of coming on Gnahoua showed a lovely touch to run into the box, his cross evaded everybody though and another opportunity went by.
Fellow sub, Delfouneso forced a save out of Dixon after he had twisted, turned and lost his marker after being played in by Lee.
Wanderers made another change with nine minutes to go when Miller came on for Doyle.
The striker was inches away from breaking the deadlock after John’s inch-perfect pass was cleared for a corner just before it reached the sub following a fantastic pass by Lee.
Wanderers survived a loud penalty shout right at the death, which never had any validity to it after Jamie Devitt tumbled following a collision with MJ Williams, but Miller showed his finishing prowess to claim the maximum with virtually the last kick of the game after being set up by fellow sub, Gnahoua. Bolton Wanderers:
Gilks, Jones, Williams, Almeida Santos, Doyle (Miller 81), Sarcevic, Isgrove (Delfouneso 69), Baptiste, John, Lee, Afolayan (Gnahoua 69)Subs Not Used:
Tutte, Thomason, Elbouzedi, JacksonGoal:
Miller (90+3). Barrow:
Dixon, Eardley, Jones, Thomason, Brough, Barry, Banks (Devitt 78), Taylor, Ntlhe (Kay 72), James, Quigley.Subs Not Used:
Lillis, Goodridge, Sea, Bramall. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]