A win for Barnsley would have seen them move within one point of Bolton in the league standings, whereas Bolton were looking to progress further up the table from their current fifth place position.
Bolton’s frontman Olawale Tanimowo looked a threat in the opening 20 minutes, testing Jack Walton in net and giving him something to worry about in the first half. However, Bolton were unable to take the chances they were beginning to craft.
From the off Bolton were keeping possession well, with Barnsley happy to try and catch Wanderers on the counter. This ended up working to some effect for the Tykes, managing to nick possession from midfield and break at pace. This led to Barnsley drawing plenty of fouls from Bolton in dangerous positions, along with numerous corners, from which the Bolton defence were nervy dealing with.
Bolton’s inability to deal with the danger from set pieces is ultimately what cost them, as Jordan Williams flicked the ball into the back of the net from the near post after 25 minutes. 0-1 to Barnsley.
Barnsley began to push for a second throughout the rest of the first half, attempting to catch Bolton on the counter. Luckily for the Wanderers, centre back Yoann Zouma had the pace to deal with the counter-attacking football at times.
It could have easily been 2-0 before half time, with Barnsley’s Mateo Aramburu almost capitalising on a spilt ball by Jack Turner, along with an attempt cleared off the line before half time. Barnsley were on top.
The second half started on a sour note, with Jasper Moon getting booked for a strong challenge on a Bolton player, leading to the captain, Brockbank, to step in to a mini player brawl.
The turning point of the second half began with a substitution, Ronan Darcy coming on for the injured Zouma. His immediate contribution came from a neat through ball into the path of DJ Buffonge, who slipped the ball past the Barnsley keeper, unfortunately coming off injured straight afterwards on the 67-minute mark.
Bolton began to press for a winner, and they got their reward. Darcy played in another brilliant ball, this time over the top into the path of Joe Pritchard, who slotted the ball between the keepers’ legs. 2-1 Bolton with 17 minutes to go.
Bolton’s forward, Tanimowo, never stopped running throughout the whole game, and stood out for them, and eventually he got himself on the score sheet after a well-worked Bolton move down the right. A deserved 3-1 lead with eight minutes to go.
However, Bolton were not home and dry, and in the space of five minutes found themselves drawing 3-3 thanks to a quickfire brace from Barnsley substitute Chris Sang, scoring in the 85th and 88th minute.
And that was the final score-line after an entertaining second half, the substitutes making the difference for both sides. In the end, Bolton will feel hard done by after an impressive second half display, only to throw it all away in the space of five minutes of madness.
Bolton Under 23’s: Turner, Johnson, Muscatt, Zouma, Warren, Brockbank(captain), Buffonge, Davis, Tanimowo, Pritchard, Brown
Substitutes: Darcy, Aspinall, Earing, Hartshorne, Navarro
Barnsley Under 23’s: Walton, Helliwell, Simpson, Fielding(Captain), Moon, Otim, Williams, Wollerton, Aramburu, Wolfe, Inacio
Substitutes: Willard, Berkovits, Connell, Sang, Hendrick
Referee: Richard Aspinall
Assistant Referees: Daniel Bruce and Neil Evans