Bolton beat bleak Barnsley
Craig Dawson struck the decisive goal as Bolton stepped up their
Championship play-off push by extending their unbeaten run to six
matches with a 3-2 win over Barnsley.
The Bolton defender steered home a rebound after Barnsley
goalkeeper Luke Steele had spilled Marcos Alonso’s vicious
free-kick, giving Dougie Freedman’s side their first away win in
the league since the end of November.
It was cruel on Barnsley, who had fought back from two goals
down at half-time to draw level early in the second period, but
their survival hopes have been dented by a second successive
David Ngog and Jay Spearing fired Bolton into a deserved
two-goal lead before Barnsley hit back 90 seconds into the second
period through Tomasz Cywka and equalised in the 53rd minute when
Chris O’Grady converted from close range.
But Bolton regained the lead six minutes later through Dawson
and the visitors stood firm, recovering their composure in the
closing stages to give their play-off challenge some momentum.
Bolton scored with their first attempt in the 15th minute when
Chris Eagles pounced on a defensive mix-up inside the penalty area
and teed-up Ngog, who despatched a volley from 12 yards into the
The visitors possessed that extra bit of quality and both Eagles
and striker Craig Davies, back at Oakwell for the first time since
his ?300,000 move to Bolton in January, curled shots just off
target before Bolton deservedly doubled their advantage in the 38th
Barnsley only half-cleared the ball on the edge of their area
and Spearing drilled home a low shot from 25 yards beyond
Barnsley made the perfect start to the second half with Cywka
curling home a fine goal inside 90 seconds. O’Grady slipped the
ball to Cywka on the right edge of the area and the Pole bent his
right-footed shot inside Adam Bogdan’s far post.
The Tykes were back on level terms in the 53rd minute. Ryan
Tunnicliffe, on loan from Manchester United and making his home
debut, played the ball in from the right across the face of goal to
isolate Bogdan and O’Grady side-footed the ball home from six
Bolton were rocked into action and when Barnsley defender Martin
Cranie fouled Ngog on the edge of the area, defender Alonso’s
subsequent free-kick was spilled by Steele and Dawson slammed home
Barnsley swept forward from the restart and should have scored
their third, but O’Brien fired his angled shot straight at Bogdan
in a one-on-one and within seconds Eagles had two efforts cleared
off the goalline in quick succession at the other end.
Tykes substitutes Jacob Mellis and Jason Scotland then fired
shots from the edge of the area over the crossbar as Bolton were
pushed on to the back foot, but David Flitcroft’s relegation
battlers ran out of steam towards the end and Bolton held on.