Despite the result, it was an absolute pleasure to be one of the fortunate ones back in Oakwell last night. And despite the narrow defeat we a certainly still in with a chance of making it to Wembley.
Swansea took the lead near the end of a first half of few chances then the Reds were far better in the second half but missed key chances.
Valerien Ismael made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Norwich City in the last league game nine days earlier. Alex Mowatt returned to the side in place of Jasper Moon while Daryl Dike and Dominik Frieser replaced Carlton Morris and Conor Chaplin.
Swansea lined up former Reds captain Conor Hourihane in central midfield.
There were about 4,500 fans at Oakwell as supporters were allowed to attend for the first time since March last year. There were plenty of powerful moments before kick-off with the supporters reacting to the entrance of Ismael and his players. It was an emotional feeling to be part of it after so long.
Romal Palmer had the first shot of the game, curling over from just outside the box in the fifth minute.
Barnsley shaded most of the first half, without creating any real chances, then Swansea took the lead in the 38th minute.
Andre Ayew latched onto a pass by Kyle Naughton on the right of the box, cut past Michal Helik and bent a fine shot into the bottom left corner. It was a fine finish but he looked well offside to me and everyone sat round me virtually in line as we sat in the East Stand lower tier. A message to the whatsapp group at half time suggested he was onside and I am yet to see a definitive repaly.
Barnsley responded well and almost levelled but Helik headed Palmer’s right-wing cross too close to goalkeeper Freddie Woodman who saved.
Frieser was unsurprisingly replaced at half-time by Morris. Frieser has all the effort but lacks any quality.
Morris was excellent from the get go and his shot was spilled by Woodman and Callum Brittain should have scored his first Barnsley goal but put his close-range rebound too close to the goalkeeper who made a fine save.
Brittain, I love him as a player, but he will never score while ever I’ve got a hole in my a…
The Reds were well on top early in the second half, particularly in an explosive opening 10 minutes. Woodrow’s free-kick also saved by Woodman diving down to his left then the impressive Morris sliced a 15-yard volley over the bar.
Barnsley then had several men over on the counter-attack after a corner was cleared, but Dike’s pass was just in front of Morris who would have been clean through on goal.
Dike’s good pass almost put Morris through but Woodman just got there first then, at the other end, Lowe twice beat Toby Sibbick, who was otherwise excellent, before curling wide from the right of the box.
Matt Grimes’ 25-yard swerving effort was beaten away by Collins in the 85th minute. The Reds almost levelled in the 93rd minute when Woodrow’s low left-wing corner was cleverly flicked by Morris and it looped onto the crossbar.
The reds probably shaded the play and certainly the chances but Swansea defended resolutely and Woodman in their goal was the man of the match by a country mile.
The second half performance showed that there is no reason we can’t go to Swansea and win and I remain positive that this promotion party isn’t over.