Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Joseph Symes
Sports Correspondent
2:51 PM 8th May 2024

Bolton Wanderers 2-3 (5-4) Barnsley: Match Report

The opening stages of this play-off affair wasn’t eye catching in the slightest, with only an effort early on for Wanderers that was beaten away with ease by the Barnsley shot-stopper happening in the first twenty minutes.

Bolton couldn’t afford to let any lead they had slip, but they gave Barnsley an avenue back into the contest as Cosgrove, the scorer in the first leg, powered home to leave the Tykes within a goal of levelling the tie. 

The slender lead didn’t remain at one for long as the Toughsheet erupted into a sea of white as Bolton levelled on the night and regained their two-goal advantage. 

Aaron Collins adjusted himself superbly before picking out the corner from afar following a firm effort that nestled into the corner. 

Not long after, it was two for the hosts, and Wembley was effectively calling just before the break.

In a breathtaking turn of events, Eoin Toal rose highest to power a header home into an empty net to give the Whites breathing space over the Tykes going into halftime.

Barnsley added a dramatic twist to the tie as his strike brought the visitors back to within a two-goal margin, and suddenly the hosts couldn't sit pretty.

The Tykes had the impetus, and with this, they netted another to be on the brink of their own remarkable comeback. Cosgrove, the first scorer and the provider for the second, nodded in Barnsley’s third to hang the tie in the balance. 

The fourth for the visitors was so close, nearly ten minutes from time, as the ball narrowly avoided Cosgrove on a hat-trick before an advancing player couldn't divert it on target.

The last minutes were nervy, but the over-riding emotion once the referee’s whistle blew into the air was relief, as Ian Evatt’s men are now just a game away from a return to the championship.