Barrow AFC 0 Blackpool 3

The attention was on makeshift striker Ian Evatt in the closing stages of Barrow AFC’s pre-season friendly against Blackpool, who made sure not all eyes were on their former favourite, as they came away with the victory.

This was the final time the Bluebirds manager will be putting on his boots (a fetching, and fitting, orange pair for this last run-out), as he made his swansong against the club where he spent the best years of his playing career.

The final score will suggest this was a comfortable win for the Seasiders, but the scoreline was a little harsh on AFC.

The hosts had more than enough chances to score over the course of the game at Holker Street, but showed that frustrating lack of cutting edge that prevented them from pushing above mid-table last season.

However, Evatt will have been far more concerned if his side hadn’t had created those sort of chances and it is still encouraging that they were able to cause their League One opponents the amount of problems they did.

After four appearances off the bench in pre-season, trialist Byron Harrison was played from the start for the first time as he came in for the injured Scott Quigley up front.

Despite a fairly bright opening, Barrow fell behind in the seventh minute when Sullay Kaikai’s cross from the left found a completely unmarked Nathan Delfouneso, who had the simple task of nodding in from close range.

The Bluebirds’ first chance to hit back came when a corner was pulled back for Jason Taylor on the edge of the area, but he sliced his effort wide of the top corner.

They may have been behind, but AFC were on top by the midpoint of the first half with Harrison not making the most of a good opportunity when he headed Brad Barry’s cross over.

Lewis Hardcastle then couldn’t keep a free kick very much in his range down, with the only failure of the first half-hour in attack being that they hadn’t worked Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Mafoumbi.

He was forced into action after 32 minutes when Jack Hindle superbly took down a cross-field pass to get away from Marc Bola but delayed in getting his shot away as he entered the area, allowing Mafoumbi to block.

Joel Dixon then had to make a couple of good saves to prevent the Seasiders from taking the lead, as he first blocked Kaikai’s path before he had to be alert to keep out Ryan Hardie’s effort at his near post.

The Barrow stopper impressed again just before half-time when he pushed away Kaikai’s free kick, as Blackpool retained their 1-0 lead at the end of a very watchable first half.

Dixon unfortunately undid his good work six minutes into the second half when he struck his clearance straight at Armand Gnanduillet, who took the ball around him to double the Seasiders’ lead.

Harrison then forged a chance for the hosts to pull one back, forcing an error out of Bola before Hindle forced a decent stop from Mafoumbi at the near post.

The Bluebirds were adamant they should have had a penalty in the 65th minute when Harrison seemed to be bundled over in the area, but those appeals fell on deaf ears.

Hardcastle then tried his luck from 25 yards and his grass-cutter was pushed around the post by Mafoumbi, as AFC continued to create chances with the clock ticking down.

With six minutes left, on came Evatt, up front, although the boss almost saw his defence concede again a minute after coming on, as the lively Kaikai fizzed a shot wide from just outside the box.

Blackpool did add a third after 87 minutes and again Barrow were architects of their own downfall, as Jordan Thompson’s free kick flicked off the head of Connor Brown and looped into his own net.

Barrow AFC (4-3-3): Dixon, Barry, Hird (Elsdon 73), Granite, Brown, Rooney (Greaves 66), Taylor (Fox 66), Hardcastle, Hindle (Trialist 60), Harrison (Evatt 84), Kay (Penfold 60).

Sub not used: Saltmer.

Blackpool (4-4-2): Mafoumbi, Guy, Edwards, Anderton, Bola, Delfouneso, Thompson, Spearing, Kaikai, Hardie (Watkinson 77), Gnanduillet.

Subs not used: Kellett, Winstanley, Jaaskelainen, McGladdery.

Referee: Rebecca Welch

Attendance: 1,417