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Match Reports


3 May 2024

Match Reports


3 May 2024

Barnsley have it all to do after tonight's Sky Bet League One semi-final first leg.

Despite substitute Sam Cosgrove breathing life back into the Reds' end-of-season play-off hopes with 15 minutes to play in this one, Barnsley have a two-goal deficit to overturn next Tuesday night as the visitors took advantage of defensive errors.

The opening stages against Bolton Wanderers at Oakwell this evening consisted of both sides exchanging direct balls, heading away danger. Maybe a case of feeling each other out, but quality was lacking in what was a frenetic start to proceedings.

But just as the Reds began to find joy in the final third, forcing a number of set-plays and playing in and around the away side's box, they were caught out in defence as Bolton launched a well-worked move down the right wing that led to the opener. 

On-loan forward, Paris Maghoma looked offside when receiving the ball initially, but it was rapid football from Bolton that caught the Reds out and the eventual cross was inch-perfect from the right flank which saw Dion Charles steal in to slide home a finish, high above Liam Roberts, four yards from goal.

A couple of Adam Phillips strikes from distance that flew wide or over were all Barnsley had in an attempt to fight back before the half-time interval.

HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-1 Bolton

If the Reds were hoping for a better second half, it began badly. Just seven minutes in, a mis-timed Jordan Williams header back towards Roberts saw Josh Sheehan nip in and he went down under Roberts' dive to win his side a spot kick. That penalty was duly converted by Charles, to Liam's left who did get a finger to the strike but only enough to divert the ball into the side netting of his goal. 

There was little in reply from the Reds until Cosgrove made his entry on 66 minutes, imposing his physical presence on the away side's backline. 

That move paid off on 76 minutes as he got onto the end of fellow sub, Conor Grant's clever pass to finish in style eight yards out and thus reduce the arrears. This ignited belief in the team and in the stands as the Reds support rallied behind their side.

Barnsley were hammering down the door at last. It looked like a leveller was on the way. A Phillips header was wonderfully clawed away by Baxter being the key moment as the Reds' pressure increased. But, in a swift counter-attack the away side saw Sheehan denied one-on-one by Roberts, with the eventual corner kick proving crucial.

Randell Williams curled in the inswinging set-piece that was missed at the front post and evaded every player on its way into the far corner of the net. A cruel blow late on. 

Interim head coach, Martin Devaney and his side have a two-goal deficit to overturn when travelling to the Toughsheet Stadium on Tuesday 7th May for the second leg.

FULL-TIME: Barnsley 1-3 Bolton

Roberts, O'Keeffe, Williams, de Gevigney, Earl, Cadden, Connell, Phillips, Kane (Grant), McAtee (Jaló), Cole (Cosgrove).

Unused: Killip, McCart, Cotter, Russell.

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