Bolton 3-1 Barnsley: Trotters move out of relegation zone
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/12/17 6:31pm
Gary Madine scored twice and Mark Little added a third as Bolton beat Barnsley 3-1 to move out of the bottom three in the Sky Bet Championship.
Little's superb solo strike after 69 minutes secured victory for Phil Parkinson's side after Madine's first-half double. Tom Bradshaw's penalty had briefly restored parity for the visitors.
Victory lifted the Trotters above Burton, Sunderland and Birmingham to fourth-bottom and within four points of Barnsley In contrast, Barnsley have now lost four successive games and have dropped to 19th.
The visitors cancelled out Madine's first goal through Bradshaw's penalty but then found Bolton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick in outstanding form after Madine notched a spot-kick of his own six minutes from half-time.
Wanderers had first sight of Barnsley's goal when Josh Vela's effort from 20 yards deflected into the gloves of Adam Davies.
The home side should then have been in front after 17 minutes, with Vela this time the provider. The midfielder's cross from the Wanderers' left was delivered to perfection but Madine's header from eight yards flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
Four minutes later Bolton did take the lead and it owed everything to full-back Little's persistence and skill after bursting into the penalty box. Little's cross was delivered to the near post, where Madine bundled the ball into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Almost immediately, though, the Tykes were back on level terms. As Bradshaw burst into the area, Reece Burke stretched out a leg but took the man rather than the ball. Bradshaw picked himself up and fired home the spot-kick right-footed beyond Alnwick.
Bradshaw and Bolton's Sammy Ameobi were yellow-carded - the latter for a daft push on Joe Williams - before the Trotters regained the lead. This time Liam Lindsay was adjudged to have tripped Will Buckley and Madine rolled home a right-footed penalty to make it 2-1.
Barnsley could have levelled again in the last of three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the opening period. Adam Hammill, back in the side after suspension, crossed from the right and Bradshaw headed over the bar from close range.
Barnsley also started the second half on the front foot and were unfortunate not to level again. An error by Mark Beevers gifted an opening for goalscorer Bradshaw. Alnwick saved the striker's low right-footed shot and then clawed away a second effort.
Alnwick then denied full-back Jason McCarthy as the visitors sensed an equaliser. The hosts posed little attacking threat after the interval before doubling their advantage.
Little left Andy Yiadom floundering as he burst into the area. Despite team-mates to his left, Little went for glory and fired an angled low right-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Substitute Adam Armstrong almost added a fourth with a fierce shot of his own. Barnsley kept pressing, but Alnwick stood in their way, blocking a goal-bound effort from Bradshaw during seven minutes of stoppage time.
Phil Parkinson: "I am very pleased because of the character we showed. Last time here we were 2-0 up and drew (2-2 against Reading on November 21), then we lost at Wolves (5-1) and then scored first today but then conceded. We had to stand strong as a team and so I am delighted.
"It's a huge boost for us. That's only one defeat in nine now, five unbeaten at home and we are starting to build momentum. It is good to see the table. I have only glanced at it, but it's a good feeling."
Paul Heckingbottom: "You get what you deserved. The three goals we gave away were shocking. They will be delighted, of course they will. We have had 13 shots in the second half, six on target and missed them. That's why we have lost. We were wasteful at one end, when we were on top and naive at the other end conceding the goals.
"We are still the team that dominated Hull at home and lost 1-0 somehow. We follow that up at Hillsborough when Sheffield Wednesday dominated us in the first half and go 1-0 up. But we show energy, determination and enthusiasm in the second half to get a draw. The problem is we can't always rely on scoring four goals to win a game. We either have to change the mentality of the players or change the players."