A brace from Barnsley striker Chris O'Grady sealed all three points for the Terriers, as they clawed their way off the bottom of the Championship with their second win of the season over Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough.
Prior to the game at Oakwell, Mowbray told the Journal: "Every game is difficult, Barnsley, they’ve had a difficult start and it’s an opportunity for us to put in a positive performance but as we know there are no easy games in this league, every team works hard and we’re expecting a tough game from Barnsley.
“We’ll be looking for points and we have to make sure we get them this week.”
Unfortunately, David Flitcroft's men had other ideas, after establishing an unassailable lead before the half-time break.
The Tykes opened the scoring when ex-Celtic winger Paddy McCourt blistered past the Middlesbrough defence, before caressing the ball into the net. The game was then decided courtesy of a three minute brace from O'Grady who deflected in Jim O'Brien's effort, before being gifted his second when Ben Gibson fouled Marcus Pedersen in the penalty area, which allowed O'Grady to convert from the penalty spot to give the Terriers a comfortable 3-0 lead at half-time.
Albert Adomah grabbed a second-half double to incite panic around Oakwell with just six minutes left to play. Although, Flitcroft's side held on to collect all three points, presenting them with their first home win since August.
However, this defeat leaves Middlesbrough in sixteenth place in the Championship, rendering Mowbray's tenure at the Riverside on a knife's edge. Prior to the international break, Middlesbrough thumped Yeovil Town 4-1 which provided Mowbray with a temporary relief from the media, who had pinpointed him as the next manager for the sack.
Coincidentally, Mowbray has become the victim of his previous success with West Bromwich Albion five years ago. Mowbray guided the Baggies back into the Premier League, after providing the framework towards the spine of their current side and free-flowing passing style.
Mowbray informed the Northern Echo that he simply cannot afford the quality which the Boro faithful are crying out for.
“To buy Morrison for £3million and Brunt for £2million, we haven’t done that here. We haven’t gone out and been able to get young, high-quality footballers, we’ve taken Albert from Bristol City, George Friend from relegated Doncaster, Carayol from League One, they’re not Morrison from Premier League Middlesbrough. Brunt came from Sheffield Wednesday, but was destined for a higher club," he said.
Consequently, the media hounding Mowbray out of his job, will certainly see the departure of Adomah and Carayol, two players who have shone in the deserted ghost-town which is called the Riverside Stadium.
Attendance figures have been significantly reduced, as the fans refuse to spend their hard earned cash watching sub-standard football. A mere 13,181 were in attendance when Boro beat Yeovil 4-1, whereas a revitalised 27,856 turned up when they were beaten 2-0 in the FA Cup by Chelsea in February.
Nevertheless, Mowbray’s men should be given the opportunity to redeem themselves at the Riverside on Friday, when they face Paul Dickov’s Doncaster Rovers who sit in seventeenth place after being trounced 4-1 by promotion hopefuls Reading.
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