League One play-off final: Barnsley see off Millwall to seal promotion and complete remarkable turnaround

Barnsley 3 Millwall 1: The Tykes return to the second tier as Ashley Fletcher shines in the Wembley sun

Andy Sims
Wembley Stadium
Sunday 29 May 2016 17:13
Ashley Fletcher celebrates scoring Barnsley's opener
Ashley Fletcher celebrates scoring Barnsley's opener

Ashley Fletcher helped fire Barnsley to play-off glory and proved Marcus Rashford is not the only Manchester United prospect with a big future.

The 20-year-old, on loan with the Tykes from Old Trafford, hoped to catch new United boss Jose Mourinho's eye with his display in the Sky Bet League One final against Millwall.

And just two days after Rashford marked his England debut with a third-minute goal, his United youth-team room-mate took just 90 seconds to take Wembley by storm.

Adam Hammill added a spectacular second and although boyhood Barnsley fan Mark Beevers pulled one back for Millwall, Lloyd Isgrove ensured a return to the Championship for the Tykes.

A 3-1 victory completed a remarkable turnaround for the Yorkshire club, who were bottom at Christmas and looking as though they might be exiting the third tier in the opposite direction.

Millwall fans reacted to defeat with their usual charm, with a few charging around the top tier towards the Barnsley section, while others appeared to lob coins at Tykes players.

But nothing could take the shine off Barnsley's day - which got off to a perfect start thanks to Fletcher.

The 20-year-old collected Sam Winnall's flick-on and shrugged off Lions defender Carlos Edwards before racing towards goal and finishing low across keeper Jordan Archer.

Fletcher had a chance to make it two 10 minutes later when another ball over the top beat Millwall's offside trap, but the angle was tight and Archer beat out his shot at the near post.

But there was nothing Archer could do in the 19th minute when Hammill, the 'old man' of this vibrant young Barnsley side at the age of 28, collected the ball on the left wing.

There did not appear to be much on for Hammill, but the former Liverpool youngster cut inside Edwards before unleashing a stunning 30-yard curler into the top corner.

Millwall's Chris Taylor cannot hide his dismay at full-time

Millwall refused to lie down, though, and clawed their way back into the match when Barnsley failed to clear Shane Ferguson's 33rd-minute corner.

Captain Tony Craig scuffed his shot but the ball fell to Beevers, who rolled Tykes defender Marc Roberts before rifling home from six yards.

But events were still conspiring against the Lions, who, after losing Byron Webster to injury in the warm-up, saw fellow defender Joe Martin limp off after suffering a freak calf injury moments before half-time.

They had chances in the second half, not least when Steve Morison rounded Adam Davies and sent in a cross which Aiden O'Brien hit straight at the Tykes keeper.

But their hopes were extinguished in the 74th minute when Conor Hourihane swung in a corner and Isgrove leapt highest to nod in at the near post.


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