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

defeat.

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

bottom corner.

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

minute.

Barnsley only half-cleared the ball on the edge of their area

and Spearing drilled home a low shot from 25 yards beyond

Steele.

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

yards.

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

the rebound.

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.