Reds FT: Bolton 1 Barnsley 0

Barnsley's Tom Kennedy is fouled by Bolton's Chung-Y'ong Lee.
Barnsley's Tom Kennedy is fouled by Bolton's Chung-Y'ong Lee.
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With just five games remaining, Barnsley were plunged back to the bottom of the Champiionship with a 1-0 defeat at Bolton.

Barnsley were in need of a purposeful start in front of their noisy army of travelling supporters and they created the first chance with less than a minute played.

A Jennings corner wasn’t cleared, but Dawson flashed a shot a couple of feet over from 25 yards.

O’Grady was a whisker away from meeting a dangerous out-swinging cross from McLaughlin.

The hosts were struggling to string passes together but they ought to have produced better in the 10th minute.

Hall played a neat through-ball to Moritz, only for the midfielder to cross disappointingly when he should have shot from just inside the box.

Centre-back Nyatanga was up for another corner and saw a header hacked clear by Hutton as the hosts continued to mis-fire.

Bolton found Hall close to the edge of the box, but he shot tamely at Steele.

The Reds fluffed the chance of the game so far. Some excellent approach play created space for McLaughlin down the right, and he crossed in low for Jennings. However, the Barnsley wide-man clipped a shot over from barely six yards.

The visitors continued to press and the advancing Etuhu was inches away from meeting another in-swinging corner-kick from Jennings.

By the half-hour drop rivals Millwall and Charlton were both losing, so the Reds needed to try and strike a potentially massive blow.

Bolton were next to go close. Lee headed a cross back across goal for Beckford, but Steele was alert in beating away a sharp volley from point-blank range.

Bolton came close to breaking the deadlock when Trotter crossed for Lee, only for the South Korean to fire over wildly from 10 yards.

Just as it was looking as though the Reds were to head into the break level, the hosts struck with a route one effort in the 44th minute.

Mills’ long ball found BECKFORD, and the recalled striker skipped past Steele before rolling the ball into an unguarded net.

With Yeovil now in front too, the Reds were now bottom of the Championship at half-time.

Clearly buoyed by their goal just before half-time, the Trotters had a spring in their step once the action resumed.

Beckford played a smart pass through to Moritz, but Steele came to the rescue with an agile stop.

The Reds then came alive, with O’Grady forcing Bogdan into decent saves, twice in the space of a minute.

Wilson’s battlers needed to keep their foot on the gas, but they almost went two down on the hour mark.

Former Everton, Leeds and Leicester hit-man Beckford saw an initial effort saved by the advancing Steele, then he squeezed a shot from the rebound inches wide of the far post.

These were worrying moments for the Reds, but they responded again. This time McLaughlin headed narrowly wide from a pinpoint Jennings cross.

Heavy rain descended upon the Reebok Stadium, and dark clouds were beginning to hover over Barnsley.

The final 20 minutes were approaching and only rarely were they looking like breaking through for an equaliser - let alone a priceless winning goal.

Barnsley’s fans were screaming for a penalty kick when it looked as though Trotter had nudged O’Grady in the box just as he was about to shoot, but the referee was unmoved.

The visitors continued to press, and they missed another glaring opportunity. It was a mirror image of the earlier chance when McLaughlin headed wide from Jennings’ superb cross.

The final hammer blow for Wilson’s men came in the 84th minute. McLaughlin was tripped in the box by Baptiste, but O’Grady struck his penalty-kick against the outside of the post.