The Barnsley play-off push continues as goals in the second half from skipper Alex Mowatt and Daryl Dike gave the reds a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Oakwell.
Ismael made one change to the team as he brought Frieser back into the starting eleven to replace Adeboyejo who was back on the bench.
The first half was truly awful, a very drab affair with very little of note to mention. Middlesbrough did have one great chance to open the scoring fairly early on from a Sibbick error but Saville was unable to capitalise on the mistake.
Sibbick tried to head the ball back to his keeper but did not get enough on his header back, Saville nipped in but his header was straight at Collins. Big let off for Barnsley there as Boro should have done better with that chance. In fairness to Sibbick though, there was no pace on the ball and he was never going to get enough on the ball to reach Collins. And with the way it hung up I’m not sure what other options he had. One thing I do know is there was only one outcome with who came out with the ball but fortunately it didn’t find the back of the Barnsley net.
Barnsley edged the opening half in terms of chances but they themselves didn’t create an awful lot either. The best chances of a goal for the home side all came from Mowatt set plays which is often the case at the moment.
The best chance fell to Helik towards the end of the half, following a free kick Woodrow laid the ball back to Helik inside the area. His shot took a deflection and made its way towards goal but the keeper dove on the ball well before Andersen could tap the ball home.
Another terrible first half of football at Oakwell. Something that seems to happen quite regularly but we don’t care. We know that we will come out stronger in the second half and have the options on the bench to change things and towards the end of the half Ismael started getting subs ready clearly with the idea of mixing things up at the break.
Ismael indeed did make a change at the break with Morris coming on for Frieser to offer more of a physical presence up top. No surprise with that one. Frieser had been poor and you know Morris will never let you down when he comes on and he always seems to make a positive impact contributing to both a Barnsley win and an improved playing performance.
Middlesbrough however started the half the better of the teams and they had a chance early on from a McNair free kick. His effort took a big deflection and it looked to fall nicely into the path of Saville but he couldn’t get his head onto the ball and it went wide.
Watmore then found some space in the box and his cross/shot fizzed across the area but no Boro player was there to turn it home and Brittain hooked it behind.
However, despite the good start to the half by Boro it was the hosts that took the lead and then control of the game just after the hour mark and it’s fair to say it is not the type of goal you see very often but one that you sort of thought would happen for us this season with the tactic we have employed.
Mowatt took an in swinging corner from the right hand side and he fired it in towards the near post as he so often does. It went over a sea of players and made its way straight into the net. Bettinelli in the Boro goal will not want to see that again as he made a bit of a mess of it. Mowatt had threatened to do this a few times already this season and finally got one. It is such a dangerous delivery. We have caused opposition all sorts of problems these deliveries all season. They are difficult to defend against. We have won the flick at the near post numerous times and have scored from it. But also when we haven’t it has also missed every defenders head and had the keeper flapping them away. On this occasion the keeper just got it all wrong.
Soon after the goal it could and should have gotten worse for Bettinelli but he escaped without punishment thanks to the referee. Hall let the ball run back towards his keeper but Dike used his pace to get there first and knock the ball around the keeper.
Bettinelli seemed to take Dike out on the edge of the box as the big striker looked to get round him but the ref waved it away. Much to the annoyance of Dike and the Barnsley players and staff. It looked a foul to me and the ref either bottled it or wasn’t 100 per cent sure there was enough contact to take him down and he had to be sure because it would have been a red card for the keeper. No booking for Dike shows that the ref knew that he didn’t dive so take from that what you will.
Dike didn’t have to wait too long though to get in on the act and double the lead. Mowatt took a strike from the edge of the box which bounced up towards Morris. He seemed to be offside but the flag stayed down but the striker somehow didn’t beat the keeper from point blank range. It was like he was softly heading the ball back as he was so sure he was offside.
The ball was not fully cleared though and Brittain had the chance to cross which he did superbly on the half volley and the cross found Dike in space on the back post and he found the net with a diving header. A terrific cross and bullet header and from that point on you knew where the three points were going.
The second goal really gave the reds confidence and they bossed the final exchanges. Dike almost added a third when he found space on the edge of the area but his shot took a small deflection and went just wide.
Mowatt also came close late on and again it was from another corner. From the same side he scored from he whipped it in towards the front post again, this time a relieved Bettinelli just managed to get a good punch on it.
Barnsley saw the game out well from this point to claim another important win and move five points clear of 7th placed Reading with five games left to play. Exciting and nervous times now for the reds fans.
Coventry next up on Sunday where we will face our old gaffer Mark Robins as well as Matty James. They are towards the bottom end of the table but will certainly be no pushovers.