Barnsley FC’s Martin Devaney revealed decisions he have to make ahead of Bolton Wanderers League One play-off decider

SAM COSGROVE’S performance in Barnsley’s League One play-off semi-final first leg has given interim boss Martin Devaney food for thought ahead of Tuesday’s return, but he will also need to focus on the other end.
Barnsley outplayed Bolton Wanderers for the first 23 minutes of Friday’s encounter, and somewhat longer at the conclusion, despite finishing 11 points higher in the table.

The switch-off was prompted by a clumsy goal by Barnsley, who were distracted by attempting to bring Devante Cole back onto the field, allowing Paris Maghoma to cross for Dion Charles to finish.

When Charles converted a second-half penalty following a mix-up between Jordan Williams and goalkeeper Liam Roberts, a comfortable away win loomed.

Swapping Cosgrove for Cole, whose substitution was welcomed by his own fans for the second time, turned the game around.
If Cosgrove’s goal, which was set up by a brilliant pass from fellow substitute Conor Grant, was a good advertising for changing Tuesday’s XI, Barnsley’s more direct style of play may also be a signal to how they should play.

It was just a pity as ex-Hull City winger Randell Williams scoring direct from a stoppage-time corner with the hosts feeling Roberts was being illegally pinned back made the task that much harder.
Devaney, who will again take the team as the search for Neill Collins’ full-time replacement as coach continues, said of Cosgrove. “He can change the dynamics of the team. He showed what he can do.
“When Sam comes on his strength is peeling off the centre-backs, winning headers, trying to get hold of it and bringing people into play so when you make those subs, that’s what you want to see them do.

Barnsley FC's Martin Devaney has tough decisions to make ahead of Bolton  Wanderers League One play-off decider
“I was really pleased he got his goal and he’s certainly going to be in my mind.”

There was no escaping Barnsley will also need to be better defensively to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Lancashire, though.

“It was poor defending from everyone involved,” said centre-back Josh Earl. “We simply cannot keep throwing away goals like that.

“I’m not sure if it was a foul on Robbo (for the third), but it was another sloppy goal.”

“I’m not sure if it’s us turning off, but it’s a goal we should start avoiding. All three goals were quite awful.

Subscribe to our Sports Editor’s TeamTalk newsletter. “The first was a good move from the striker and a good bit of play, but we’re down to 10 men and we’ve gone to press them. We should have stuck together as a team.”

“That’s just little mistakes that we make in a split second.”

However, last year’s play-offs, in which Sheffield Wednesday overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the semi-finals, gave everyone optimism.

“We can be encouraged by the whole performance apart from the three goals,” Earl stated. “We defended pretty well for the majority of the game and played some good football near the finish. We just have to go there with the mindset that we can still provide a strong performance.

“At 2-1, we look like the next side to score, so that’s how we’ve got to approach it again – with the idea that we can get a goal, keep pushing, and put them under pressure.

“It might be a crazy goal that kicks it off, an unbelievable tackle, anything, and we’ll be there with every intention of winning the game.

“They defeated us by two goals. How come we can’t beat them by two goals?

“The pressure is off now, really. When you get one back, you never know what will happen.”

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