Bristol Rovers 2-1 Barnsley: late sickener for promoted Reds
Ten-man Barnsley missed out on the League One title after being beaten by Bristol Rovers on the final day of the season.
The Tykes played the entire second-half at the Memorial Ground with 10 men after Liam Lindsay was booked twice, with Kieffer Moore’s first-half header overturned by Alex Rodman’s double strike.
The Reds, who were promoted on Tuesday night, needed to better Luton’s result by five goals to claim the title, but it proved academic in the end as Bristol Rovers made their extra man count.
The hosts fired in an early warning shot through Alex Jakubiak on five minutes but it was the Reds who took the lead with their first attack of the match. Kieffer Moore nodded home his first since returning from injury, as Cameron McGeehan’s cross was headed at goal by Thiam, Gas ‘keeper Adam Smith clawed the ball off the line but only as far as Moore who headed in his 19th of the campaign from six yards.
The Tykes picked up the pace but Liam Sercombe flashed an effort wide for the hosts after forcing a couple of corners in quick succession. Another long shot came in from Ollie Clarke but Davies was untroubled on 33 minutes.
A minute before the break Barnsley were reduced to 10 men as Liam Lindsay was shown a second yellow card. The defender pulled Alex Rodman as the Rovers man looked to break, resulting in the Scot’s marching orders. The dismissal means he’ll miss the Reds’ opening Championship fixture next season.
Reds head coach Daniel Stendel made a double change at the break as Mamadou Thiam and Kieffer Moore were replaced by defenders Zeki Fryers and Dimitri Cavare.
The changes at the break saw Barnsley switch to a 4-3-1-1 formation as they looked to slow down the tempo with 10 men.
The hosts had two chances to level the tie on the hour mark but Adam Davies made an excellent double save. Substitute Gavin Reilly sprang the offside trap but couldn’t take it past the Welsh international, who then made an excellent block on the follow-up from Jakubiak.
Rovers levelled up on 71 minutes through Alex Rodman who had two bites at the cherry. Davies made an initial stop to deny Rodman but was helpless at the rebound which cannoned in off the bar.
Substitute Jordan Green almost found the ball at his feet in the box on 80 minutes before McGeehan’s effort was blocked as Barnsley continued to press for the winner despite the hosts’ numerical advantage.
There was still time for Barnsley to come close in the dying embers of the game. Cauley Woodrow had two long-distance attempts, with his second worrying Rovers’ Smith between the sticks.
The home side made the Tykes pay in stoppage-time as Rodman was found free at the back post by Liam Sercombe’s looping cross and the midfielder drilled home his second of the game.
Teams:Bristol Rovers: Smith, Lockyer (Kilgour 90+4), Craig, Upson (Lines 82), Sercombe, O. Clarke, J. Clarke, Jakubiak, Ogogo (Reilly 56), Kelly, Rodman.Subs: Slocombe, Nichols, Partington, Sinclair.
Barnsley: Davies, Pinnock, Lindsay (s/o 44), McGeehan, Woodrow, Bahre (Green 78), J. Williams, Pinillos, Thiam (Fryers 46), Mowatt, Moore (Cavare 46).
Subs: Walton, Styles, Jackson, Hedges.Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 9,859 (1,145 away)