Fleetwood 1 (2)
Reds 1 (2)
Reds win 4-2 on Penalties.
Adam Davies is the hero as he saves two spot-kicks to send the Reds to Wembley!
After a dramatic penalty shootout, the Reds booked their place under the famous arch thanks to Adam Hammill scoring the decisive kick.
Conor Hourihane’s strike was cancelled out with just nine minutes remaining by Ashley Hunter, which meant the penalties were necessary.
The tie was level at 1-1 after the first leg following a dramatic debut equaliser from on-loan Manchester United forward Ashley Fletcher, who cancelled out an Adam Davies own goal.
Adam Hammill and Aidy White returned from injury to start for the Reds, which meant Fletcher and George Williams went to the bench.
The first real efforts on goal came predictably from Sam Winnall, but the two early chances he had fell to his un-favoured left foot, meaning his strikes weren’t as clear as he would have liked, so Chris Maxwell in the Fleetwood goal saved comfortably.
After those initial efforts, the controversy came. Sam Winnall raced through one on one into the Fleetwood area, only to be pulled back clearly by the home-side Captain Nathan Pond, which the whole ground seemed to see except the referee and his assistant on the side-line.
The next real effort again fell to Winnall, but he headed wide this time from an Aidy White cross.
With Fleetwood not seeing much of the ball the Reds pressed forward time after time. Alfie Mawson was collecting the ball at the back on multiple occasions following the attempted long balls the home side were playing.
Maxwell in the Fleetwood goal kept up a succession of saves, this time from Josh Brownhill who hit a 30 yard stunner towards the top corner, but it was tipped wide.
Just before half-time, Adam Hammill was brought down in the area, but again the referee gave nothing.
Half Time 0-0
The match went to penalties after a second half that the Reds dominated, just liked the first. From the outset, Barnsley looked dangerous down both flanks and quickly created a chance for Conor Hourihane but his curling right footed effort flew over.
Shortly after Hourihane’s early chance, Barnsley were in on goal again as Lloyd Isgrove’s good work won the ball back, played it across the middle to Watkins who played in Winnall, but his shot was sliced over.
The Reds deservedly and finally took the lead on 67 minutes. Hourihane’s strike from the edge of the area beat home ‘keeper Maxwell to make the score 1-0, and crucially 2-1 on aggregate to Barnsley.
Fleetwood understandably threw players forward after going behind and were rewarded with 81 minutes on the clock. An intercepted pass meant that Ashley Hunter found space in the area and fired into Davies’ far corner to level.
With nothing to choose between the sides, Ashley Fletcher, a second half substitute had a chance to win it with almost the last touch of the ball. He found space inside the Fleetwood area but his header bounced agonisingly wide.
With that, the whistle was blown and it would be a penalty shoot out to decide who was going to Wembley.
The first four penalties were successful, from Long and Hourihane for the Reds, and Ball and Grant for Fleetwood.
The home side had the first advantage as Maxwell saved Scowen’s effort, but Davies kept it level as he saved from McLaughlin.
Sam Winnall then put the Reds ahead again, and Davies saved again from Bell, which meant Adam Hammill had the chance to send the Reds to Wembley…
And he did just that, as he thundered his effort in off the bar.
Reds XI: Davies (GK), Bree, Mawson, Long, A. White, Isgrove, Hourihane, Brownhill, Hammill, Watkins, Winnall.
Subs: Townsend (GK), Roberts, G. Williams, Scowen, Fletcher.