Barnsley have taken seven points from the last nine games, and at home in the Championship have yet to concede a goal. Barnsley fans will hope that Oakwell is gaining a reputation as a tough place for visiting teams to come, and on the evidence of this Saturday the foundation has been laid.
A workmanlike performance from the Tykes saw off many pundits pre-season promotion favourites, Middlesbrough. Boro’ started brightly, but with Luke Steele in good form in the Barnsley goal, the Tykes gained in confidence and on 28 minutes a towering header from Jason Shackell broke the deadlock. The home side held onto this lead until half-time.
Barnsley started the second half the better of the two teams, and although both sides had chances it looked with 90 minutes up that the game was to finish 1-0.
However, deep into injury-time, Adam Hammill staked an early claim for goal of the season. With the last moments of added time disappearing, Hammill collected the ball in his own half before a weaving run at the Boro’ defence took him all the way into the visitors box, where he coolly finished pass Jason Steele in the Middlesbrough goal.
On this evidence it is no surprise that there are rumours of interest in the former Liverpool youngster from Premier League Blackpool. Reds fans will hope that Mark Robins can persuade the forward that his future is best served at Barnsley.
A satisfactory win for the Reds before the break which sees them move into 10th place. One disappointing aspect of the day was a crowd of under 12,000.
It will definitely be nearer capacity for the next game at Oakwell, when West Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United are the visitors for the midweek fixture on 14th September 2010.
Before that though there is a trip to Carrow Road and to one of the ex-clubs of Tykes boss Mark Robins, Norwich City. With 12 days until the trip to East Anglia, let's hope that the enforced lay-off doesn't halt the gathering momentum.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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