Barnsley 2 Colchester 2: Last-minute blow keeps Reds play-off hopes in balance

Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring his second. 'Picture:  Dean Atkins
Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring his second. 'Picture: Dean Atkins

Barnsley’s Sky Bet League One play-off dream remains in the balance after they were held by already relegated Colchester in the most dramatic of fashion.

Ashley Fletcher scored twice in the second half to hand the hosts the lead after they trailed at half-time, but Tom Lapslie scored in the 96th minute for the U’s to rob Barnsley of two very precious points.

The Reds remain in the top six, but only just.

Barnsley arguably enjoyed the better of a sun-drenched first period at Oakwell, but they went in at the interval a goal behind.

That strike came in the 42nd minute, with the recalled George Moncur slotting past Adam Davies after he had latched on to Elliott Lee’s through-ball.

The same two combined for the U’s as they were denied by the woodwork after only 60 seconds.

Lee pulled the ball back into Moncur’s path and he saw a low effort strike the base of a post.

In between that and the goal, Barnsley dominated.

Adam Hammill and Fletcher were both denied by smart stops from U’s ‘keeper Elliott Parish.

Hammill was then denied by a brilliant point-blank stop from Parish.

Alfie Mawson saw his header from a Hammill corner-kick strike the crossbar just past the half-hour mark.

The Reds evened it up in the 57th minute thanks to a cracking individual strike from Fletcher.

The Reds’ loan-man popped the ball through Tom Eastman’s legs before going on to hammer home past Parish from 12 yards.

The goal visibly lifted the Reds, who went on to dominate the next 10 minutes with Winnall and Conor Hourihane both going close to firing their team into the lead.

Sub Harry Chapman then fluffed a great chance as he lashed over the top from 12 yards.

Fletcher headed into an empty net gloriously with nine minutes to go after Chapman’s close-range effort had been blocked by Parish, only for Lapslie to stun Oakwell with his headed leveller in the 96th minute.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies; Scowen, Roberts, Mawson, G Williams; Isgrove, Brownhill, Hourihane, Hammill; Winnall, Fletcher.Subs: Townsend, Nyatanga, Chapman, Toney, McCourt, Tuton, Evans.

Colchester (4-2-3-1): Parish; Edwards, Kent, Eastman, Shorey; Garvan, Lapslie; Massey, Lee, Bonne; Moncur. Subs: Wynet, Wright, Gilbey, Porter, Brindley, Barnes, Dunne.

Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham).