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2023 League One playoff final tie confirmed as second club advances through

The 2023 League One playoff final tie is now confirmed as a second club advances through, with Barnsley beating Bolton on Friday night.

Coming into the second leg of this semi final, both sides were 1-1 on aggregate as Nicky Cadden’s opening goal was quickly cancelled out by Dion Charles to leave the tie finely-balanced.

Barnsley had won just one of past 17 meetings, while Bolton won four of past five visits to Oakwell, including the 3-0 victory back in January.

The Tykes finished the regular season fourth, five points ahead of the Trotters.

There is no away goals rule – so the tie would go to extra time and penalties if needed.

The winners of this would face Sheffield Wednesday in the final at Wembley on Monday, the 29th of May.

SEE MORE: Sheffield Wednesday v Peterborough ends with 5-5 aggregate, epic comeback and penalty shootout

So how did the second leg play out? Take a look below…

It was a lively started to the game, four minutes in, Charles was found in-between the Barnsley centre-backs, bringing the ball down nicely on his chest and then unleashed a volley which Isted got down to hold.

Shortly after, Barnsley go up the other end and space opened up for Connell to have a go on his left foot from distance which Trafford has to gather low to his left.

Both sides had chances of their own before Barnsley took the lead on 24 minutes.

It came via Luca Connell, with the former Bolton academy player whipping in a cracking ball into the box and Liam Kitching then headed home from close range.

Sky Sports EFL Editor Simeon Gholam at Oakwell: “What a rise from Kitching. The cross from Connell was brilliant, the header just as good. Trafford didn’t stand a chance.

“Just like in the first leg, Bolton will have to come from behind.” 

Ian Woodcock (BBC Sport at Oakwell): “What an absolute peach of a cross that was from Luca Connell.

“Bolton boss Ian Evatt will be furious with how his side defended there and they have been punished.

“They didn’t get out enough from the first ball into the box and Connell had way too much time to measure his ball to the back stick.

“I said the game needed a goal for it to really get going, and we have got it!”

The rest of the first half calmed down somewhat.

Bobby Thomas mistakenly placed a low ball out for a Bolton throw-in deep in the Wanderers half, but the hosts immediately won the ball back and looked comfortable enough to hold on to their lead, and that’s even with Bolton having had 72 per cent possession yet haven’t created as much as Barnsley.

Kyle Dempsey went into the book for a bad challenge on Barnsley’s Herbie Kane just before the break.

Ian Woodcock: “Bolton boss Ian Evatt heads for the dressing room with purpose.

“His side have been second best here since the home side took the lead and they have 45 minutes to turn this around or their season will end tonight.

“Barnsley boss Michael Duff will want more of the same.

“The Tykes have been the sharper in the tackle and have harried the Trotters into numerous errors.

“OK, it’s not like last night but there’s still more to come from this.”

Phil Brown (Former Bolton assistant manager on BBC Radio Manchester): “Barnsley have been the better team – there’s no doubt about it. But it’s only 45 minutes. First-half performances are important but it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

“It’s been a nearly performance from Bolton. It’s a blessing in disguise that it’s only 1-0, if truth be known.

“It’s almost been a blame culture performance from them. They’ve just lost their way a little bit.”

David Preece (Former Barnsley keeper on BBC Radio Sheffield): “Before the last game, Michael Duff asked for the performance he got. He’s done that again tonight.

“Barnsley are showing intensity, trying to get the ball forward and being more proactive when they get the ball back.

“When they’re out of possession, they’re absolute monsters. They force errors time after time. They’re the only team in this game.”

It was a brighter start for Bolton since the start of the second half, with George Thomason shooting with his left foot after working on to a loose ball inside the Barnsley box but his effort was blocked.

Meanwhile, Devante Cole was booked for a challenge on George Johnston.

We came so close to a sensational goal on 67 minutes.

Adam Phillips picked up the ball for Barnsley on the edge of the Bolton box, controlled it in mid-air, let it bounce and then hit on the volley, only for it to smash the crossbar. Close to a Barnsley second.

Ian Woodcock: “How big a moment could that prove to be?

“Adam Phillips certainly has a fine strike on him, as 10 goals from midfield this season attest.

“He drops into that position on the edge of the area on every Barnsley attacking throw and corner situation.

“You can almost sense his eyes light up when anything falls in his vicinity.”

Ricardo Santos was booked for bringing down Barnsley substitute James Norwood on 82 minute.

Six minutes went up on the board, a surprise to the home fans.

But Barnsley managed to hold on, a year on from relegation from the Championship, the Tykes are just 90 minutes away from a return to the second tier. They will meet Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley a week on Monday.

Bolton’s season – which included silverware in the Papa Johns Trophy – comes to an end.

Sky Sports EFL Editor Simeon Gholam at Oakwell: “It will be third versus fourth in the Sky Bet League One play-off final! Barnsley will face their Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley on Monday May 29 for a spot in the Sky Bet Championship.

“It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the other semi-final, but Barnsley are good value for their spot over the two legs, just doing enough thanks to Liam Kitching’s first-half header.

“They will have the chance to bounce straight back to the second tier, while Bolton face another season in League One.”

Sky Sports’ Joe Jacobson: “It was a typical Barnsley performance. They got their noses in front from a second phase set play and defended really, really well. They limited Bolton to very few chances, if any.

“Towards the end, Bolton went long when they didn’t reallywant to and it played into Barnsley’s hands, who were quite comfortable in the end.”

Ian Woodcock: “Requests for fans not to run on the pitch have fallen on deaf ears.

“It all seems good-natured enough, lots of kids doing kneeslides, but the EFL has been very clear about this.”

Phil Brown: “Bolton were banging on a door that wasn’t going to be opened.

“Barnsley deserve to be going to Wembley, it has to be said. Bolton had them defending for their lives but they’re strong-willed at Oakwell and one or two of their midfielders were very impressive.

“To a man, every one of Barnsley’s players stepped up to the plate.”

Ian Woodcock: “So Barnsley’s epic season will now end under the Wembley arch.

“The Reds flopped to relegation from the Championship last season, finishing bottom with just 30 points from 46 games.

“New boss Michael Duff had the players back in for pre-season on 6 June and their season will now finish exactly one week shy of a year since then.

“The delighted home support chant “Sheffield Wednesday, we’re coming for you!”

“South Yorkshire is all set to decamp to the capital.”

Joe Jacobson: “Ian Evatt said after the first leg he didn’t really see the true Bolton and it was the same tonight.

“For them not to show the best version of themselves, he’ll be disappointed with that.”

Here’s how fans reacted with the 2023 League One playoff final tie confirmed as a second club advances through…

@Bikertyke1: Fantastic defensive display at both games. London is going to be full of Yorkshire folk.

@bwfc_thomas: Well done Barnsley hope you smash Wednesday. We didn’t turn up but you did, good luck in a few weeks time

@ThomasGibbs_: Bolton fan. Well played Barnsley. Can’t act like we deserved to win over both legs, and we never looked dangerous tonight. Best of luck in the final and take some of our Wembley luck with you🍀#bwfc

@No1Wanderer: inevitably gonna hear loads of fans slating our players, calling for their heads. We didn’t put in a performance we know we’re capable of which is disappointing. Barnsley better in the league and play offs. One of those nights and we go again next season. #bwfc

@MartinT14662933: Barnsley and Sheffield very comfortable in second legs of the playoff semi finals with the corrupt officials. Not bitter at all but the big decisions were so corrupt.

@Chaddy_58: Without serious investment in this team we’ll be stuck in this league for a long time. Defensively we’ll be OK for next season but we really need some guile and creativity in that midfield and a couple of strikers. Sky sports commentary team really wanted Barnsley in that final. #bwfc

@theascroft: Not good enough from us tonight but we were always up against it when Barnsley’s players spend more time time wasting than actually playing football and a referee who only gives free kicks to their players #BWFC #BARBOL

@WandererSmurf: Barnsley been the better team over the 2 legs tbh. But I’ve no complaints. Bolton are still improving rapidly, we’ve won a cup & are in a great position to push towards automatic promotion next season 👏🏼

@superwanderer94: Absolutely bottled it. Not turned up at all. You wouldn’t think it was second leg of play off semi final. No decent opportunities made at all, appalling! Another season in a crap league, a lot of changes needed. Not good enough!!

@DaveBWFC85: Shame to have the season end in such a disappointing way. We just didn’t turn up in either game. Credit to Barnsley for defending well but we offered nothing going forwards. The lack of goals has been a big issue and obviously something we need to address next season. #BWFC

@philthewanderer: No complaints , Barnsley were better over the 2 games , Evatt needs to assess the squad now , clearly we have a few players not upto the standards required

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