Barnsley beat Bolton to set up League One play-off final derby against Owls
Barnsley will face South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the League One play-off final at Wembley after a 1-0 victory over Bolton on Friday night secured 2-1 aggregate win.
The second leg was settled by a first-half goal from Liam Kitching at Oakwell, the Barnsley defender powering home a header from Luca Connell’s fine cross.
Bolton rallied for a spell following the break, but they were unable to find a way back into the game.
Barnsley head coach Michael Duff named an unchanged side while Bolton counterpart Ian Evatt made two changes following the drawn first leg, with Dan Nlundulu and George Thomason restored to the starting line-up.
Barnsley threatened first when Connell fired in a low drive from distance early on which was comfortably saved by James Trafford.
At the other end, Nlundulu sent in a shot on target but it failed to trouble Harry Isted in the Barnsley goal.
Kitching then tried his luck from the edge of the area which was straight at Trafford, but the visiting keeper was made to work harder by Herbie Kane soon after as head to stretch to gather the midfielder’s low shot.
Kitching was back in the action in the 24th minute, and this time it resulted in the deadlock being broken.
Connell whipped in a superb cross and Kitching climbed above his marker on the edge of the six-yard box to thump a header past Trafford.
As Barnsley looked to build on their lead, Adam Phillips saw his free-kick crash against the defensive wall.
Bolton made a strong start to the second half and Conor Bradley looked for a penalty after going down under a challenge inside the area, but their appeals fell on deaf ears.
Aaron Morley then tried a shot from distance which went wide while George Thomason had a goal-bound effort blocked as the visitors continued to push for an equaliser.
However, Barnsley remained a threat and Phillips went close to putting the hosts further ahead midway through the second period when his dipping volley from the edge of the area hit the bar.
Bolton were then handed a great chance to get back on terms when they were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the penalty area, given away by goalkeeper Isted following a defensive mix-up.
The ball was touched to Morley but he fired over the bar.
During six minutes of added time, Bolton threw players forward in a desperate bid to force an equaliser that would have sent the tie to extra time, but they failed to test Isted.
And Jordan Williams threatened to add a second goal for Barnsley just before the final whistle, firing wide after Bolton were caught on the break.