Amir Berkovits struck a dramatic late winner as Barnsley U23s beat Bolton Wanderers at Oakwell on Friday afternoon.
The young winger, introduced from the bench midway through the second half, latched onto Gerry McDonagh’s shot before rounding James Aspinall and slotting home five minutes from time.
It was no less than Martin Devaney’s side deserved against last season’s Professional Development League champions, as they picked up their third win in four games.
Barnsley started brightly, and had an opportunity to open the scoring early on when Jordan Williams burst clear down the right and drilled a low ball into the box, but McDonagh was unable to flick home at the near post.
The visitors then came close to making a breakthrough when Stephen Duke-McKenna, fresh from scoring against Leeds United on Monday, lashed narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
McDonagh then met Ben Williams’ deep cross but couldn’t quite divert his header towards goal, before Joe Pritchard bent a ferocious effort inches over Jake Greatorex’ goal as both sides looked to steal a march as the first half wore on.
The Reds had the ball in the back of the net eight minutes before the interval, but the officials ruled it out for a foul on Aspinall and the two teams went in level at half-time.
Again, Barnsley started well and McDonagh showed quick feet 25-yards out before seeing his fierce drive deflect off Tai-Reece Chisholm and behind for a goal kick.
Trialist then worked the ball neatly down the left flank before weaving into the area and unleashing a shot that flew just over the crossbar as Devaney’s side continued to look for a foothold in the game.
Just before the hour mark, the Reds were awarded a penalty when Ben Williams was toppled inside the area, but McDonagh saw his spot kick saved superbly well by Aspinall, who then reacted quickly to deny Jared Bird’s follow up.
Jasper Moon came close to converting Berkovits’ pin-point corner before McDonagh was again thwarted by Aspinall after turning neatly in the box.
Devaney introduced 15-year-old Aiden Marsh with eight minutes remaining in a bid to add a more attacking edge to his side. It had the desired effect as Berkovits reacted quickest to McDonagh’s miscued strike to casually round the onrushing Aspinall and fire the Reds into a deserved late lead.
There was still time for the visitors to make it an uncomfortable last few minutes as they poured forward in search of an equaliser, but the Reds’ backline stood strong and repelled everything Bolton threw at them to hang on for a valuable, hard-fought three points.
REDS XI: Greatorex, Wardle (Marsh, 82), Fielding, Moon, Trialist (Berkovits, 62), J. Williams, Otim, Bird (c), B. Williams, Chisholm, McDonagh.
Not used: Helliwell, Barnett, Walsh.
BOLTON XI: Aspinall, Muscatt, Earing, Brockbank (c), Zouma, Wood, Politic (Argent-Barnes, 73), Connell, Duke-McKenna, Pritchard, Dyer (Navarro, 73).
Not used: Jones-Griffiths, James