Barrow 0-3 Blackpool: Seasiders bag hard-earned friendly win in Ian Evatt's retirement match

Nathan Delfouneso celebrates after giving Pool an early lead
Nathan Delfouneso celebrates after giving Pool an early lead
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Goals from Nathan Delfouneso and Armand Gnanduillet and a late own goal handed Blackpool a hard-earned pre-season victory against Barrow in Ian Evatt’s retirement match.

READ MORE: Updates from Blackpool's pre-season friendly at Barrow

Goals from Nathan Delfouneso and Armand Gnanduillet and a late own goal handed Blackpool a hard-earned pre-season victory against Barrow in Ian Evatt’s retirement match.

The Barrow boss played the last five minutes of the friendly encounter, playing up front to cap off a fine career against his former side.

The Seasiders were made to work hard for their victory, despite taking an early lead against the run of play after just six minutes, Delfouneso heading home his second goal in as many games.

Gnanduillet doubled that lead in the second half after a goalkeeping howler before an unfortunate late own goal rounded off the scoring.

Simon Grayson split his first-team squad with another side taking on Altrincham at the same time, the Seasiders going down to a 2-1 defeat despite Ben Tollitt’s goal.

The game at Barrow saw the debut of Ryan Hardie, who arrived at the club earlier in the week on a permanent transfer from Rangers.

And the striker wasted a good early chance to make a perfect start to his Blackpool career after the home side were caught out by a routine long ball over the top.

The striker latched onto it well but could only sting the palms of the Barrow keeper Joel Dixon.

A minute later, however, the Seasiders broke the deadlock with a repeat goal of their opener at AFC Fylde on Tuesday.

Sullay Kaikai provided a delicious cross to the unmarked Nathan Delfouneso who bagged his second goal in as many games by glancing a header beyond the keeper and into the bottom corner.

Given Pool’s makeshift defence, which saw Callum Guy play at right back and Nick Anderton in the centre, it wasn’t a huge surprise to see a couple of nervous early moments.

One such occasion saw Jason Taylor left unmarked from a corner, but fortunately for Pool the midfielder was wayward with his curled effort.

Despite the early goal, it was the home side who enjoyed the majority of territory and were forcing most of the pressure.

Pool were given a let-off halfway through the opening period when Byron Harrison failed to keep his header down from eight yards out.

But Barrow’s clearest chance of the half came the way of Jack Hindle, who capitalised on a mistake from Marc Bola who switched off at left-back.

It allowed Hindle the chance to sprint through on goal where Mafoumbi spread himself well to save with his out-stretched leg.

Guy was then forced to make a vital last-ditch headed clearance just a few yards off Pool’s own goalline to keep his side in front.

The Seasiders wasted two gilt-edged chances to extend their lead in as many moments on the brink of the break.

The first came the way of Kaikai, who had been teed up by a right-wing cross from Armand Gnanduillet but the winger produced a tame effort which Dixon easily claimed.

Seconds later, Hardie looked to beat Dixon at the near post after springing the offside trap only to be denied by a smart save.

Dixon was forced into making another smart stop in the last action of the half to deny Kaikai’s curling free kick from 25 yards out.

Pool were denied a penalty at the start of the second half after Hardie appeared to have been tugged back just as he prepared to shoot, only for the referee to remain unmoved.

It wasn’t to matter though, as a few moments later the Seasiders doubled their lead thanks a howler from the Barrow keeper.

Dixon saw his attempted clearance charged down by Gnanduillet who had the simple task of tapping home into the empty net.

Mafoumbi was forced into making a comfortable save at his near post as Hindle looked to reduce the arrears.

The home supporters felt their side ought to have been given a penalty when Harrison went down in the box under pressure from Bola, but nothing was given.

With 15 minutes remaining, Mafoumbi made a smart stop to tip Hardcastle’s low drive around the post and away for a corner.

With 84 minutes on the clock, Evatt took to the field after receiving a great ovation from all spectators in attendance.

But the big man didn’t take to his normal position of centre back, he put himself straight up front instead.

So there was nothing Evatt could do as Kaikai almost made it 3-0 to the Seasiders with a low shot that just missed the far corner.

That third goal did come in the 88th minute in somewhat unfortunate circumstances for the home side, as Jordan Thompson’s free kick flicked off the head of Connor Brown and over the keeper.

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Blackpool XI vs Barrow: Mafoumbi, Guy, Anderton, Edwards, Bola, Spearing, Thompson, Delfouneso, Kaikai, Hardie (Watkinson), Gnanduillet

Subs: Kellett, Winstanley, Jaaskelainen, McGladdery

Blackpool XI vs Altrincham: Boney, Turton, Nottingham, Tilt, Shaw, Feeney, Pritchard, Roache, Tollitt, Devitt, Yussuf

Attendance: 1,417 (408 Blackpool)