The international break seemed to have a rejuvenating affect on Barnsley as they swept aside Nottingham Forest at Oakwell.
With Garry O’Connor returning to Birmingham City, Andy Gray came back into the side. Nathan Doyle replaced Diego Arismendi in the starting line-up and Kiwi International Chris Wood was on the bench as Goran Lovre came in.
It proved to be one of those days when all manager Mark Robins’ decisions worked out, as in-coming selections Doyle and Gray were on the score sheet along with substitute Butterfield.
The game was barely five minutes old when Nathan Doyle scored his first senior goal for the Reds. Forest had been caught cold, but settled down and played their part in a fast end-to-end first half. Barnsley probably just edged the opening 45 minutes and deserved the 1-0 interval lead.
The Tykes opened the second half brightly and went further ahead on 56 minutes. Dexter Blackstock brought down Goran Lovre and Andy Gray promptly smashed home the penalty. Forest responded with a double substitution and this galvanised the men from the City Ground. On 68 minutes, they cut the Tykes lead to 2-1 with a good strike from Lewis McGugan.
Both teams created chances in the last 20 minutes, but it was Barnsley who completed the scoring. With two minutes remaining, Andy Hammill drove forward before off-loading to Jacob Butterfield, who fired home to seal an impressive win for the Tykes.
Robins said: "I thought we were good. We've been good all week in training, sometimes when you're good in training it doesn't reflect on the pitch on Saturday.
"I was a little bit worried about the first passage of the game, then we stepped up our game. We got an early goal which settled us down.
"After the goal Forest had us under a lot of pressure because they're a good side, they've got players with pace and power.
"In the second half they put us under a lot of pressure with long balls and apart from their goal I thought we did particularly well. When they came back I made a few changes and Jacob Butterfield scored a good goal.
"I thought it was a good win because we have two difficult away games. We did very well and I am delighted."
With this confident display under their belt, Barnsley travel to Burnley tomorrow night. The Turf Moor side have a similar record to the Tykes this season, in that they have an impressive home record, but have yet to win away.
Burnley have seen off Nottingham Forest (1-0), Leicester City (3-0), Hull City (4-0) and an incredible victory over Preston, when coming back from 3-0 down to win 4-3. The Clarets dropped points at home with a 0-0 against Bristol City.
The last time Barnsley visited Turf Moor was on Boxing Day 2008. Jamie Cureton gave the Tykes an early lead, but the game was settled by Burnley midfielder Chris McCann. Having levelled the game at 1-1 in the first half, McCann became villain as his own goal gave the Reds all three points.
Perhaps a slice of luck like that will be required for Barnsley to break their away day hoodoo.
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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