A Dike screamer was enough to secure all three points for the super reds and make it 7 (SEVEN) wins on the spin as Barnsley moved in to the play-off places with a 1 – 0 victory over Birmingham at Oakwell.
The Barnsley boss again shuffled his team around with Frieser and Sollbauer returning to the starting line-up at the expense of Chaplin and Sibbick.
The first half started well with Barnsley showing their pressing early doors forcing an early error and winning a corner right from the off.
Birmingham then showed the threat they can pose from set pieces when former reds loanee Gardener clipped in a freekick which his captain Harlee Dean headed wide from close range. It was a big chance for the away side but one they could not take.
Barnsley had a penalty claim as skipper Mowatt was picked out just inside the area, he seemed to be clipped as he looked to shoot but the ref waved the shouts away. On first view I felt it was a bit soft but on watching the replays I think the ref could have easily have given in favour of the reds.
Overall the first half was awful really, neither side able to create anything from open play. Very much long ball from both teams. All chances coming from set plays. Birmingham slightly edging the game given the fact they offered slightly more threat from set pieces but nothing much in it.
Ismael clearly wasn’t happy with his sides’ performance in the first half as he made a double change at the break with Morris and Williams coming on for Frieser and Styles. Frieser in general is the weak link in this team. He has been better of late but still usually the worst the player on the pitch. Styles was poor by his standards. He has numerous chances to get good crosses in to the box but was found wanting so it was no surprise to see them both replaced at the break.
The changes and his half time talk seemed to make an instant impact as they often do with Barnsley looking far more lively after the restart.
Dike was picked out seconds after the restart by Woodrow but his shot was rushed and easily saved. This however was a warning sign for the away side but they failed to take note of this and a few minutes later they were punished.
Just four minutes into the second half the reds did take the lead after a much brighter start to this half. After scuffing his effort a few moments ago Dike this time unleashed an absolute rocket from the right hand side of the box to open the scoring. It was an absolute beauty of a goal and you had begun to feel that the game would need a goal of this magnitude to win it.
Morris found space on the left and played a nice ball across to Dike who was out on the right hand side. He drove towards the box before sending a thunderbolt into the top corner. Etheridge in the goal had no chance due to the power on the shot. We have certainly scored some wonderful goals this season.
Barnsley threatened again soon after with Mowatt sending a dangerous free kick into the area which Birmingham managed to scramble away. This lead to a succession of Mowatt corners which again they cleared well under pressure.
Barnsley again made changes and really took the sting out of the game with Halme and Sibbick coming on to nullify the Birmingham threat they had. Halme for the more physical approach in the middle of the park as well as his aerial ability in both boxes. And Sibbick for his extra pace at the back as Birmingham also made changes to go for it a bit more.
There werw a few late scares for the hosts, firstly Bela headed a corner towards goal but Collins did well to tip it over.
Deep into stoppage time the home side almost threw away two points when Bela was allowed to make his way down the left before driving a low cross in. The ball somehow evaded everyone and made its way to Ivan Sanchez who was somehow free in the area. He had time to control but he rushed his shot and was only able to pick out the side netting. We have rode our luck at times in this run but good teams make their own luck and we have certainly been good as well.
Another win for the super reds which sees them jump above Bournemouth into sixth with a game in hand. Next week’s trip to Bournemouth will be a huge game for the Tykes in their pursuit of the playoffs. Not the best game against Birmingham at all but they defended well yet again and showed great game management yet again to claim another big three points.
Before Bournemouth we have Derby to contend with in mid-week who are much improved under Wayne Rooney. Another difficult game just like they all are.