FA CUP REPORT: Wanderers v Barnsley

Wanderers changed their kit but couldn’t change their luck as a late fightback wasn’t enough to avoid a first-round FA Cup exit.

Ian Evatt’s men wore their centenary strip to mark 100 years since the club’s first FA Cup triumph in the ‘White Horse’ final of 1923.

It was a fitting nod to the past but the Whites couldn’t quite re-write recent history as they again exited at the first-round stage.

The draw wasn’t a kind one as League One rivals Barnsley returned to the University of Bolton Stadium for the second time in three weeks.

And it became even tougher when the Tykes led 2-0 with little more than half-an-hour gone.

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Wanderers didn’t throw in the towel, though, and when substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson headed home after 80 minutes the momentum was with the Whites.

A replay looked a real possibility but the hosts couldn’t find a late leveller as they ultimately paid the price for again conceding first and giving themselves just too much to do.

As well as the change of look, Wanderers also altered their formation in a 4-3-3 line-up which featured the return of Aaron Morley, George Thomason, Dapo Afolayan and Kieran Sadlier.

But the side had barely had chance to settle when Wanderers fell behind as a cross from Nicky Cadden bounced into his own net off home skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos.

After the goalless stalemate of the recent league meeting things were different this time around as Barnsley had chances to add to their lead and Wanderers also created opportunities to level.

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The best for the Whites fell to Dapo Afolayan after Dion Charles had over-run the ball but his effort was too close to goalkeeper Jack Walton, who also blocked an effort from Kieran Sadlier.

But Barnsley also played with a greater freedom and after Devante Cole had failed to make the most of an inviting ball in from Phillips, the midfielder took it on himself to double the visitors’ advantage with a thumping strike into the roof of the net from just outside the box.

Again, Wanderers looked to respond as Charles headed a cross from the dangerous Sadlier over the top and a minute into the second half Charles had the ball in the net for a second time from an offside position.

Evatt’s men looked threatening around the penalty area, but the Tykes were resolute in protection of their lead as they got increasing numbers behind the ball and disrupted play to limit clear sights of goal.

And when they had the chance to strike on the break, Barnsley went close to a third through Phillips and Herbie Kane.

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With half an hour to go, Evatt made a triple change to try and spark a fightback in increasingly miserable weather conditions and Bodvarsson made an instant impression with an excellent lay-off for fellow substitute Kyle Dempsey to see a shot blocked as he ran into the penalty area.

The Icelander had pepped up the Whites’ attack and with 10 minutes to go he got Wanderers back into the tie with an excellent goal.

Owen Beck was also given a first taste of action beyond the Papa Johns Trophy from the bench and the on-loan Liverpool youngster seized the moment, playing a part in a well-crafted move.

Beck’s ball out wide was perfectly taken by Gethin Jones and from his deep cross, Bodvarsson powered home his fifth goal of the season with a fine header.

That set up a storming finish as Wanderers tried to force at least a replay and with two minutes to go Amadou Bakayoko almost created an equaliser.

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His deep cross found Conor Bradley but from beyond the back post the full-back headed back across goal from a tight angle and Elias Kachunga couldn’t direct a difficult chance goalwards.

With seven minutes of time added there was still hope for Wanderers but they couldn’t find one more opening that might have given them a second bite at the cherry and the chance to avoid a fourth successive first-round departure.

Wanderers: Trafford; Bradley, Jones, Santos, Iredale; Morley, Thomason (Kachunga 75), Lee (Bakayoko 63); Sadlier (Beck 75), Charles (Dempsey 63), Afolayan (Bodvarsson 63). Substitutes: Williams, Johnston, Sheehan, Toal.

Booked: Thomason

Barnsley: Walton; Edwards, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Connell, Phillips (Hondermarck 79), Kane (Benson 70), Cadden (Larkeche 79); Tedic (Martin 70), Cole (Cundy 90). Substitutes: Collins, Moon, Aitchison, Jalo.

Booked: Kane, Kitching, Phillips, Walton, Andersen.


Attendance: 5,999 (Barnsley 630)

Read Time: 4 mins