Bolton boss Ian Evatt believes his much-fancied side is heading in the right direction after Antoni Sarcevic’s injury-time equaliser earned Wanderers a 3-3 Sky Bet League Two comeback draw at Barrow.
Evatt’s former club were just seconds from a first win since regaining their Football League status after a 48-year absence.
But having led 2-0 and 3-1, the Bluebirds saw Bolton skipper Sarcevic drill home a point saver after first-half goals from Peter Kioso and Eoin Doyle at Holker Street.
Former Bolton midfielder Chris Taylor – who was forced off at half-time with a sickness bug – netted Barrow’s first-minute opener and set-up Dior Angus for the Cumbrians’ third after 20 minutes. In between Mike Jones made it 2-0.
“We can’t start games like that and give the opposition two goals,” said Evatt. “But the third goal was three yards at least offside. It baffles me how you can get that decision so wrong.
“It wasn’t even in the same postcode as our defenders but I am proud of them. For the first time this season we showed fight, we showed desire and showed a set of testicles.
“I said at half-time this second half will define who we are and where we go.
“The fact we scored in that manner and kept going showed me they are in the right head space. For the first time I have seen they really want it.
“But it should not take the opposition to score before we play angry. We have to play angry from minute one.”
Evatt’s pleasure at picking up an unlikely point was only soured by comments directed his way from the main stand.
“Some people have very short memories,” he said. “Some of the shouts from the stands were poor throughout the game.
“I love Barrow AFC – I always have done; I always will do.
“The platform they gave me as a manager and what we did for each other was special.
“It will never be taken away from us. I have nothing but admiration for this place, the town and their supporters.”
In the absence of manager David Dunn who is recuperating from coronavirus, Josh Lillis took charge of the Bluebirds.
And after almost masterminding a famous victory, he said of Dunn: “Like the rest of us, he is absolutely sick.
“It must be terribly hard for him watching it at home, not being able to be with the lads but I believe he will be back soon and raring to go.
“And the players showed they care – we have to take the positives.
“That first victory will come and then they will keep rolling after that.
“We had a feeling it was going to be our night but we suffered a sucker blow at the end. It is how we deal with it now.
“The players will get the just rewards and that will kick start us.
“Bolton have not started great but they have some big players like (Eoin) Doyle who scored loads of goals last season, Sarcevic has been in and around it, (Ali) Crawford is a brilliant player. But we stood toe-to-toe with them.”