McBurnie takes the praise af­ter pro­vid­ing Reds’ sur­vival life­line

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - Lee Sobot AT OAKWELL Email: lee.sobot@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @LeeSobotYEP

BARNS­LEY 2

BOLTON WAN­DER­ERS 2

CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

HEAD COACH Jose Mo­rais heaped praise on Oli McBurnie af­ter the for­ward kept Barns­ley’s Cham­pi­onship destiny in their own hands with a ‘93rd’ minute equaliser in a thrilling draw with rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals Bolton Wan­der­ers.

Swansea City loa­nee McBurnie wreaked havoc in the first half of Satur­day’s base­ment bat­tle at Oakwell with the 21-year-old’s ef­forts lead­ing to the first goal for equally im­pres­sive team-mate Gary Gard­ner.

Barns­ley then ap­peared to be star­ing at a po­ten­tially rel­e­ga­tion-damn­ing de­feat af­ter Adam Le Fon­dre’s penalty and Craig Noone’s strike put Bolton 2-1 up with five min­utes to go.

De­feat would have left the third-bot­tom Tykes five points be­hind fourth-bot­tom Bolton and fac­ing a re­turn to League One.

But af­ter a much more sub­dued per­for­mance in the sec­ond half, McBurnie popped up to head home Ki­ef­fer Moore’s cor­ner in the third minute of stoppage-time mean­ing Barns­ley can still de­cide their own fate with four games re­main­ing.

The Tykes re­main in the Cham­pi­onship’s rel­e­ga­tion zone, but the Reds are just two points be­hind Bolton, who have only three games re­main­ing.

Mo­rais was un­der­stand­ably un­happy that ref­eree Michael Jones failed to award his side a penalty in the sec­ond half af­ter Moore was hauled to the ground by de­fender Mark Beev­ers.

Bolton, on the other hand, were awarded a spot-kick in the 82nd minute af­ter Ge­orge Mon­cur had tan­gled with Will Buck­ley and Le Fon­dre stepped up to level.

Mat­ters went from bad to worse for the Reds when Noone’s clin­i­cal fin­ish sent the trav­el­ling Trot­ters con­tin­gent into rap­tures.

But McBurnie’s late in­ter­ven­tion gave the Tykes a de­served draw and the post-match anal­y­sis from Mo­rais was shared be­tween crit­cism of the dis­play of the match of­fi­cials and praise for his 21-year-old loa­nee.

The Leeds-born for­ward has been linked with moves to var­i­ous clubs over the sum­mer, in­clud­ing Leeds United, whose head coach and former Tykes man­ager Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom was present at Oakwell ahead of next Satur­day’s game be­tween Barns­ley and Leeds at El­land Road.

Mo­rais said of McBurnie: “In one way I am happy for him, but in an­other I am very sad for my­self be­cause he is one player that is so valu­able and I don’t see any coach with a player of this qual­ity be­ing happy to lose some­one like this.

“But I am happy for the coach that will have him as a player be­cause he is not only the player, he is also ‘the man’, ‘the per­son’ be­cause he is re­ally an ex­tra­or­di­nary per­son and a good team­mate.

“The qual­ity that he has is un­be­liev­able; hu­man qual­i­ties and his skills are shin­ing on the pitch also.

“I love the player and I think ev­ery­body that knows him loves him also.”

Re­flect­ing on the four-goal thriller and the fact that his side were not awarded a penalty, Mo­rais rea­soned: “I have very mixed feel­ings. We could have won and for some rea­son we didn’t.

“We can find some rea­sons and we can blame some­one. The ref­eree saw a penalty that was a key mo­ment in terms of the sea­son.

In English foot­ball so many times we see sit­u­a­tions like this when it is not a penalty.”

McBurnie saw two ef­forts cleared off the line be­fore the ball found its way to Gard­ner, who ham­mered home a high shot into the top cor­ner to give the Tykes a 22nd-minute lead.

The vis­i­tors pushed hard for an equaliser af­ter the break, but Tykes de­fender Andy Yi­adom cleared off the line from David Wheater and both sides were de­nied what ap­peared strong claims for penal­ties.

But ref­eree Jones pointed to the spot in the 79th minute af­ter Ge­orge Mon­cur had tan­gled with Will Buck­ley and Le Fon­dre stepped up to ham­mer home his spot-kick.

Things went from bad to worse for Barns­ley when a quick counter led to the ball be­ing squared for Noone, who lashed home his shot.

But the Tykes would not be de­nied and McBurnie bagged the lev­eller by ris­ing to head home Moore’s cor­ner.

Bolton man­ager Phil Parkin­son said: “I’m de­lighted with the way we re­sponded af­ter go­ing a goal down in a high-pres­sure game. The re­sponse was mag­nifi- cent in the sec­ond half, but we’re very dis­ap­pointed to con­cede late in the game.

“What pleased me is the courage we showed when the pres­sure was on. The bravery to play when the pres­sure is on is im­por­tant.

“We put some fresh legs in there sec­ond half and I thought they re­sponded well.

“We got a penalty in the end. We got the sec­ond goal and we had other chances. All in all we’ve got to make sure this was an im­por­tant point in our quest for sur­vival. It’s all to play for and it’s dif­fi­cult to tell what we’ll need. We’ve some mas­sive games left.

“We haven’t spent one sin­gle penny and it’s tough. We’ve got real re­silience in this group and we’ll keep fight­ing to the end.”

PIC­TURES: TONY JOHN­SON

STOPPAGE-TIME HERO: Barns­ley striker Oli McBurnie cel­e­brates with the ball af­ter head­ing in the late equaliser against Bolton. In­set, Gary Gard­ner wheels away with Ge­orge Mon­cur af­ter scor­ing in the first half of this Cham­pi­onship sur­vival bat­tle.

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