A superb late free-kick prevented Barnsley starting 2024 with a win as they drew 1-1 at home to Wigan Athletic.

Devante Cole opened the scoring just before half-time but the visitors levelled in the 87th minute.

Wigan’s goal was their only shot on target but they missed big chances earlier in the game. The Reds were not at their best but were comfortable for most of the second half before just falling short of grinding out a win.

The point took the Reds into the top six after Stevenage lost.

Jamie McCart returned from injury and replaced Owen Dodgson while Nicky Cadden replaced Callum Styles at left wing-back. It was announced before kick-off that Dodgson had been recalled by Burnley midway through his season-long loan.

Barnsley started with a lot of possession but could have fallen behind when Martial Godo crossed from the right to Josh Magennis who barely made contact with an attempted header six yards out.

At the other end, Cole’s header from John McAtee’s right-wing cross was tipped over by goalkeeper Sam Tickle. Cole was then played in on the left of the box by Cadden but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Tickle’s legs.

Wigan should have taken the lead on 18 minutes when Godo latched onto a long ball and played in Jordan Jones in yards of space on the left of the box but he blazed over from 12 yards out.

Magennis then again made little contact with cross, this time by Jones, after winning a long ball.

Barnsley finished the half well and John McAtee almost netted when he diverted Adam Phillips’ low shot towards goal but it went straight into the arms of Tickle.

The deadlock was broken in first half injury-time when McAtee blocked a Steven Sessegnon clearance just outside the box and it broke to Phillips whose cross from the right was tapped in from close range by Cole against his former club.

Magennis looked certain to level early in the second half but shot wide of the right post ten yards out after Williams made a mess of a clearance and gifted him the ball.

Very little of note happened for the next half an hour, as Barnsley defended generally well. Wigan had the ball in the net directly from a corner but the referee ruled it out for an apparent foul.

Wigan levelled minutes later when substitute Jonny Smith curled a superb free-kick into the top left corner.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Roberts; Williams, de Gevigney, McCart; O’Keeffe, Phillips (Styles 60), Connell, Kane, Cadden; Cole (Jalo 72), McAtee (Watters 60).

Unused: Killip, Lopata, Cosgrove, Cotter.

Yellow cards: McAtee, Styles, Connell.

Goals: Cole. 45+1

Wigan (4-5-1): Tickle; Clare, Hughes, Morrison (Robinson 78mins), Sessegnon (Smith 78; Jones, Shaw (McManaman 78), Adeeko, Lang (Aasgard 60), Godo; Magennis (Wyke 60).

Unused: Amos, Sze.

Goals: Smith 87.

  • 3:05pm
    2 Wigan. goalkeeper Sam Tickle kicks straight to Herbie Kane who tries to shoot 40 yards out but slices it into the air
  • 3:06pm
    Good run by O'Keefffe then Kane passes to Cadden whose cross is easily caught
  • 3:07pm
    Barnsley have had almost all the possession so far
  • 3:08pm
    Wigan have their first real attack and create a chance. Martial Godo's cross from the right is met. by Josh Magennis who is about six yards out but makes a mess. of a header and barely touches it
  • 3:09pm
    Magennis is the. type of big physical striker Barnsey have struggled with. all season
  • 3:11pm
    Connell loses. the. ball and Wigan break but Mael de Gevigney does well to cut out the. last pass and prevent what would have been. a big chance for. Jordan Jones
  • 3:13pm
    First Barnsley chance and first shot o n target at either. end. Cole's header from a cross on the right is tipped over b y the goalkeeper
  • 3:13pm
    Cadden's corner. caught
  • 3:16pm
    Barnsley still having most of the ball but not yet. really. breaking through Wigan's defence
  • 3:19pm
    Another Cole chance. Cadden plays him through o n. the left of the box and his shot from a. tight angle is saved by the legs of Tickle
  • 3:21pm
    Wigan should lead. Suddenly a long ball plays Martial Godo through and plays Jordan Jones clean through. on the left but he somehow blazes over from close range.
  • 3:24pm
    Kane slices a 20-yard shot. horribly wide after a good m one o n the right
  • 3:25pm
    Another Wigan. chance. Magennis wins a long ball, runs into the box to meet a Jones cross. but again gets little on it and it goes well wide.
  • 3:26pm
    Wigan corner headed out by O'Keeffe
  • 3:30pm
    Wigan corner on right played in deep and goes over everyone.
  • 3:30pm
    Wigan having the better of the game now. Barnsley struggling to deal with long balls to Magennis
  • 3:34pm
    Deep cross from the. left by Wigan headed out by Liam Shaw at a very. tight angle. Barnsley then counter attack but Kane plays a poor pass on the edge of the box
  • 3:35pm
    John McAtee booked for bringing down a Wigan player o n the. counter after several. others also tried. Has been a good attack from Barnsley mainly. through a bursting Williams run
  • 3:37pm
    Free-kick on left by Connell caught easily
  • 3:39pm
    O'Keeffe wins a corner on. the. right. after good passing by Cadden Kane and McAtee
  • 3:40pm
    Corner cleared to Kane and he scuffs a shot which is blocked
  • 3:42pm
    Break in play after Wigan player blocks powerful Kane shot with his head. But he's getting u p
  • 3:43pm
    Not quite happened for the Reds yet. Too many of their creative players look a bit off it
  • 3:44pm
    Barnsley come close. After a. Cadden cross. from the left, Phillips shoots from about 15 yards and McAtee diverts it towards goal but. it's straight into the goalkeeper's arms
  • 3:48pm
    Three added minutes
  • 3:48pm
    Barnsley having another good spell. of possession. Would be a great time to make it count
  • 3:48pm
    Devante Cole breaks the deadlock in first half injury-time!
  • 3:50pm
    The striker slides to tap in on the line after a Phillips cross. Looked like McAtee won it on edge of box. 14th of season for the ex Wigan man
  • 3:52pm
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1, Wigan 0.
  • 4:08pm
  • 4:09pm
    Wigan win a corner early in. second. half.
  • 4:10pm
    Wigan corner from the right. Headed up and well wide
  • 4:15pm
    A second astonishing miss of the day for Wigan. Williams makes a hash of clearing a cross and Josh Magennis has the goal gaping about ten yards out but fires wide of the right post
  • 4:19pm
    Watters coming o n
  • 4:20pm
    Now Williams makes. a much better clearance from a low cross. next to his goal.
  • 4:21pm
    McAtee brilliantly latches onto a long ball on. the. left and tries another lob. It lofts onto roof of net
  • 4:21pm
    McAtee and Phillips off for Watters and. Styles
  • 4:21pm
    Wigan bring on Thelo Aasgaard and Charlie Wyke for Lang and Magennis
  • 4:25pm
    Wigan chance. Jones crosses to Godo in space in box and he takes a poor touch when a good turn. and shot would have likely brought a goal
  • 4:27pm
    Wigan still yet to have a shot on target but have shot wide twice in excellent positions
  • 4:28pm
    Free-kick on the right by Kane. headed out for a throw
  • 4:29pm
    Kane corner on the left headed out.
  • 4:30pm
    Sliced 20-yard shot by Thelo Aasgaard runs to Roberts to catch easily
  • 4:32pm
    Connell has to concede a corner. after attack on right
  • 4:33pm
    Wigan corner headed on and booked off line. by Cadden but flag up
  • 4:34pm
    Jalo coming on
  • 4:35pm
    Jalo on for Cole
  • 4:37pm
    Not. much has happened. since that. big. Magennis miss, which will suit the Reds. They have been far. from their. best but this would be a great result to start the year
  • 4:38pm
    Steven Sessegnon booked for. fouling. Jalo who had just showed great skill to bring a. ball down
  • 4:40pm
    Loads of weird stuff happening on the far sideline in front of East Stand. Flame throwers have been going. off all game (aren't they just for goals?) and now a fan runs onto the pitch, makes it about 60 yards then is slide tackled by a steward. Still 1-0
  • 4:40pm
    Cadden shoots over from 25 yards
  • 4:44pm
    Jalo wins another free-kick
  • 4:44pm
    The free-kick from deep is easily. cleared
  • 4:45pm
    Barnsley are. currently having a lot of the ball and defending well when they have to
  • 4:45pm
    Callum Styles booked for. sliding in inside the visitors' half
  • 4:46pm
    Wigan win a corner on the right. Barnsley felt it was their ball
  • 4:47pm
    Wigan have the ball in the net, straight from a corner, but the referee appears to see a foul and rule it out
  • 4:48pm
    Another Wigan. corner. This time headed out. by McCart
  • 4:49pm
    Luca Connell booked for. a foul on Wigan's right wing
  • 4:51pm
    Jonny Smith levels with a screamer
  • 4:53pm
    Seven added minutes
  • 4:54pm
    The goal was a brilliant. free-kick from the left
  • 4:54pm
    Now Jordan Jones shoots over from long range on the left. wing
  • 4:57pm
    Wigan in the ascendancy now.
  • 4:57pm
    Callum McManaman hits the side netting at a tight angle from a leftwing cross
  • 4:58pm
    We've played five of the seven added minutes
  • 4:59pm
    90+6 Wigan win a free-kick in a central area about 35 yards out
  • 5:00pm
    Free-kick headed. out by Mael de Gevigney then Cadden blocks a Martial Godo shot.
  • 5:00pm
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 1, Wigan 1