Tom Lapslie nets dramatic late equaliser for Colchester United, with Macauley Bonne in goal at the other end!
Barnsley 2 Colchester United 2
Already-relegated Colchester United earned a dramatic late point, when down to 10 men with striker Macauley Bonne in goal, to mark David Wright’s first match in charge as a caretaker manager with a deserved point at Barnsley this afternoon.
Tom Lapslie was the unlikely late goalscorer, heading home in the seventh minute of stoppage time to secure a last gasp 2-2 draw at Barnsley.
The U’s deserved their half-time lead, handed to them by George Moncur’s composed finish in the 42nd minute.
Elliot Lee robbed Lloyd Isgrove and burst through the middle on a surging run, before teeing up Moncur.
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And the U’s midfielder did not need a second invitation, turning to guide home a low shot into the bottom corner of the net from 10 yards out.
It was Moncur’s 14th goal of the season, and his 12th in the league.
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Barnsley levelled on 56 minutes, thanks to Ashley Fletcher’s deadly finish. The 20-year-old Manchester United loanee ran through to plant his shot beyond Elliot Parish.
And striker Fletcher grabbed what looked like being the winner, 10 minutes from time, sweeping home the loose ball after Parish had kept out Harry Chapman’s initial cross.
Parish was injured in the process, and was stretchered off.
Wright had already employed all three substitutes, so striker Bonne went in goal for the 10-man visitors.
But there was one more sting in the tail, thanks to Lapslie’s late diving header to deny them two precious points.
New U’s caretaker boss Wright made two changes to the side that lost 3-0 at home to Burton Albion the previous weekend, to confirm the Essex club’s relegation to the fourth tier.
Front-runner Lee and midfielder Moncur were recalled, with Chris Porter and Louis Dunne dropping to the bench.
Barnsley, following a run of just two defeats in 14 matches, in all competitions, began the day sitting in the last of the play-off berths.
But they could have been trailing inside the first minute. Lee outwitted right-back Josh Scowen on the left edge of the penalty area and cut the ball back for Moncur, who drilled in a low shot which thudded back off the foot of the near post.
Barnsley struggled to get going, and Gavin Massey whipped over a low cross on 10 minutes which nearly found its way through to striker Macauley Bonne, only for centre-half Alfie Mawson to intervene with a timely interception.
A minute later and the lively Moncur flashed a shot across goal and wide, from a narrow angle, with Barnsley keeper Adam Davies wrong-footed.
The Tykes’ first chance arrived on the quarter-hour mark. Conor Hourihane’s unorthodox corner caught the U’s defence napping, with Sam Winnall unmarked just inside the box, but the home side’s leading scorer sliced his shot horribly wide.
Three minutes later and Elliott Parish was forced into his first save, getting down well to smother an angled sot from Adam Hammill, who had struck the ball cleanly from 20 yards out – Hammill had been presented with the supporters’ player-of-the-year trophy before kick-off.
The U’s were on the attack in the 24th minute. Owen Garvan and Moncur linked up well, with the ex-West Ham midfielder spreading the ball out wide to Lee, who again cut inside his marker before drilling in a low shot which Davies smothered down at his near post.
Parish made two superb saves, in quick succession, to keep the Tykes at bay just after the half-hour mark.
He performed heroics to divert Winnall’s shot over his bar, from point blank range, following Fletcher’s cross into the six-yard box.
And from the ensuing corner, Parish dived full length to his right to claw defender Marc Roberts’ downward header around his post.
Parish was finally beaten by another header, this time from centre-half Mawson, only for the ball to rear up off the turf and clip the top of the bar and drop to safety.
At the other end, Moncur had his head in his hands after his goal-bound shot was charged down by a covering defender.
But Moncur had soon forgotten about this near-miss, because it was he who broke the deadlock with a neat finish from Lee’s strong run, three minutes before half-time.
It was all change in the second half.
Fletcher buried a low shot to make it 1-1 in the 56th minute, and Parish then had to save bravely at the feet of Winnall, as the Tykes took control.
Hourihane peppered the target with a low drive, on 65 minutes, although the U’s nearly regained their lead when Moncur’s curling shot looped agonisingly over the bar in the 70th minute.
Barnsley should have taken the lead themselves, just four minutes later, only for substitute Chapman to blaze high and wide from an excellent position.
But Fletcher did sweep Barnsley into the lead, on 80 minutes, with keeper Parish being stretchered off injured, to be replaced in goal by striker Bonne, only for Lapslie to poach a late equaliser.
BARNSLEY: Davies, Williams, Roberts, Mawson, Scowen, Isgrove (sub Chapman, 71), Hammill, Hourihane, Fletcher (sub Toney, 90+5), Brownhill, Winnall (sub Tuton, 90+2). Unused subs: Townsend, Nyatanga, McCourt, Evans.
COLCHESTER: Parish, Edwards, Kent, Eastman (sub Wynter, 67), Shorey, Garvan, Lapslie, Massey (sub Gilbey, 72), Moncur, Lee (sub Wright, 77), Bonne. Unused subs: Barnes, Porter, Brindley, Dunne.
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)
Attendance: 12,021 (173 U’s fans)