O’Grady pays the penalty

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alec Fenn To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

DANNY WIL­SON says “dev­as­tated” Chris O’Grady – and his Barns­ley team­mates – will not give up on their bat­tle against rel­e­ga­tion de­spite los­ing against Bolton.

O’Grady, so of­ten the Tykes hero, was the vil­lain on this oc­ca­sion as his penalty miss cost the strug­gling York­shire out­fit at least a point.

The re­sult was harsh on Wil­son’s side, who dis­played all the courage and de­sire they will need in the fi­nal weeks of the sea­son if they are to pull off the great­est of escapes and re­tain their Cham­pi­onship sta­tus.

Ul­ti­mately, though, it was the dif­fer­ence in qual­ity in front of goal that proved key. Jer­maine Beck­ford’s first-half strike gave Bolton the lead, be­fore O’Grady struck the cross­bar from 12 yards in the dy­ing mo­ments af­ter hav­ing an ear­lier penalty ap­peal turned down.

Five points now sep­a­rate Barns­ley from safety, but Wil­son re­mains in­sis­tent his side can stay up on the back of a game he felt they de­served to win.

He said: “Chris O’Grady is dev­as­tated and so is the whole team.

“But we’ve picked them up straight af­ter the game be­cause we’ve got an­other match on Tues­day.

“The first ap­peal was a bla­tant penalty.

“The ref­eree didn’t give us any­thing.

“There were in­cor­rect book­ings, penalty de­ci­sions, the in­con­sis­tency frus­trates me. I feel let down by the ref­eree.

“We’re ca­pa­ble of stay­ing up, we’ve got the fight and the will – you saw that.

“I’m de­lighted by the per­for­mance and I felt we de­served the three points.”

The swirling of empty crisp pack­ets around the Ree­bok Sta­dium sur­face threat­ened to be the most en­ter­tain­ing sub-plot to this en­counter such was the lack of qual­ity on show in a pretty dire first half.

Barns­ley’s Dale Jen­nings ought to have brought the en­ter­tain­ment cease­fire to an end mid­way through the open­ing pe­riod, but he blazed Ryan McLaugh­lin’s pull back over the bar from eight yards.

That miss jolted some life into a Bolton side seem­ingly al­ready on their sum­mer hol­i­days.

Beck­ford rounded Luke Steele and slot­ted home on 44 min­utes af­ter Matt Mills’ long ball caught the back four nap­ping.

Thank­fully for the pay­ing pub­lic the sec­ond pe­riod of­fered plenty more in the way of enthusiasm.

The vis­i­tors set about Bolton straight from the restart and were un­for­tu­nate not to have been awarded a penalty on 71 min­utes when O’Grady went down un­der a clumsy tackle from Liam Trot­ter in­side the box.

Min­utes later the lively Ryan McLaugh­lin headed wide a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity in­side the six-yard box, on the end of a bril­liant de­liv­ery from Jen­nings.

But, with just seven min­utes re­main­ing, he looked to have atoned for that miss when he won a penalty af­ter be­ing brought down by Alex Bap­tiste, only for O’Grady to see his spot-kick come back off the cross­bar.

The re­sult was a flat­ter­ing one for Bolton, but Wan­der­ers’ boss Dougie Freed­man was sat­is­fied with the ef­forts of his play­ers af­ter they ex­tended their un­beaten run to 12 games.

He said: “It was a very hard fought vic­tory but I ex­pected noth­ing else against a team fight­ing rel­e­ga­tion.

“I was pleased for Jer­maine. It was his first 90 min­utes in quite some time and he took his goal well.

“He gave us a threat all the way through the game on the shoul­der of the last man.

“My worry was our end prod­uct and then they got the penalty.

“They’ll be dis­ap­pointed they missed it but we should’ve fin­ished the game off be­fore then.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HOT TO TROTT: Jer­maine Beck­ford, right, cel­e­brates with team mates af­ter scor­ing the win­ner for Bolton

GO­ING IN: Beck­ford tucks away his goal

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