Barrow AFC 0 Blackpool 3

Last Saturday was the last time fans would see Ian Evatt with his boots on and it was fitting that the Barrow AFC manager should get his final run-out against Blackpool, where he spent the best years of his playing career.

The now-officially former centre-back brought himself on up front (AFC were admittedly short of centre forwards) for the final six minutes and he will have been encouraged by what he had witnessed on the pitch and from the touchline, despite the final score.

The Bluebirds were up against a team two divisions higher than them, with Blackpool showing their former favourite respect by sending a strong line-up to Holker Street.

A glance at the 3-0 scoreline in the Seasiders' favour would suggest they'd had it easy, but this wasn't the case as Barrow had more than enough chances where they could, and in some cases should, have registered.

They managed to impress despite missing several players through injury and illness, which included left-back Patrick Brough, who has tonsillitis, and forward Dior Angus, who has looked electric on the right wing when he's played during pre-season.

For the first half-hour, Evatt's side were the better team, as they responded excellently to falling behind in just the seventh minute.

The main negative of the day was that all three of the goals the Bluebirds conceded were avoidable and there will have been inquests as to how Nathan Delfouneso was allowed to drift away on his own to nod in Sullay Kaikai's cross.

Going behind wasn't the result of a slow start, which AFC had been guilty of in their two previous friendlies against Workington and Morecambe, and if anything they improved afterwards.

Unfortunately, what was lacking was a ruthless streak in front of goal (stop me if that sounds familiar), with players looking hesitant to pull the trigger at times.

This even afflicted Jack Hindle, one of AFC's most reliable finishers, when he delayed in the area after a sublime first touch had taken him away from his marker towards the penalty area.

After seeing his side be unable to draw level, goalkeeper Joel Dixon then came into his own by continuing his form against Morecambe, as he made good stops from Kaikai (twice) and Ryan Hardie.

Sadly, he undid his good work early in the second half when his clearance was charged down by Armand Gnanduillet, who was gifted the chance to double Blackpool's lead.

While the game's intensity dropped several levels after the break, the Bluebirds continued to probe away - all afternoon, their passing showed clear signs of improvement from previous friendlies.

They were the architects of their own downfall again late on, however, as Connor Brown flicked Jordan Thompson's free kick into his own net.

There is now just one week of friendlies left before the real business is opened at Wrexham on August 3. Evatt won't be in action himself, of course, but now is the time he'll be deciding what his starting XI in North Wales will look like - and it could still include one or two new signings.

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