Oldham 1 Barnsley 3: Reds get warning from Boundary edge as they make it six of the best

Lewin Nyatanga scores his second and Barnsley's 3rd.
Lewin Nyatanga scores his second and Barnsley's 3rd.
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Barnsley achieved promotion to the old Second Division under Norman Hunter the last time they won six league games in succession in the 1980-81 season.

They have a great chance to match that feat after moving into the top six as new manager Lee Johnson followed up the two-game winning run under the caretaking team with his fourth straight win at former club Oldham.

Victory was well worth the gauntlet of abuse suffered by Johnson on his return to Boundary Park just 17 days after a switch to Oakwell.

But the Reds chief warned that their six-match winning run could come to an end as early as tomorrow night.

“If we play like we did today then I think we will get beat at Leyton Orient on Tuesday. I don’t think we had enough going forward apart from our set-pieces,” cautioned the Barnsley chief.

“I think this will be our toughest game. This will be our real marker – big games against Preston and Sheffield United will take care of themselves. Leyton Orient are an excellent side in a completely false position and we will have to make sure we keep the hammer down and not let complacency creep in.”

Lewin Nyatanga is congratulated

Lewin Nyatanga is congratulated

It took a poacher’s brace from central defender Lewin Nyatanga and a fortunate ricochet off Conor Hourihane to overcome an Oldham side shorn of eight first-teamers through injury and full-back Brian Wilson through suspension.

To add insult to injury, Oldham had veteran player-coach Adam Lockwood dismissed in stoppage time for a second bookable offence for blocking Josh Scowen in the same manner the former Doncaster Rovers defender had done on John O’Sullivan early in the game.

Nyatanga was left both delighted and annoyed by the outcome.

Delighted with the win and taking his strikes to a career-best season’s tally of five goals and annoyed after Barnsley conceded for the first time in six matches.

The Wales central defender, joined by international squad colleague Declan John on debut at left-back after signing on loan from Cardiff, first struck in the 32nd minute.

Milan Lalkovic failed to make contact with Hourihane’s inswinging free-kick but a distracted Jake Kean saw the ball bounce off his legs and Nyatanga hit home the rebound past the Oldham goalkeeper.

Carl Winchester could then only blast a clearance from a corner against Hourihane and the ball ricocheted into the net to make it 2-0 in the 40th.

Oldham breached the Barnsley defence before the break when Conor Wilkinson teed up Mike Jones to drive the ball home from just inside the area.

The hosts pressed after the interval but their fallibility and Barnsley’s strength at set-pieces told in the 70th minute when Nyatanga struck again.

The unlikely Barnsley hero explained: “It was a great free-kick by Conor (Hourihane) as usual which went to the back post. I thought John (O’Sullivan) was going to head it in but it hit the post and landed to me two yards out and I couldn’t miss.

“It was a vital goal because they made it a tough game for us and the atmosphere was great.

“I think that third goal relaxed us a bit and gave us that little buffer to see out the match in the closing stages.

“Everyone was annoyed that we had let a goal in, which is a good sign after keeping so many clean sheets, but the main thing is that we won the game.”

Of his international colleague John, who became the 40th player used by the Reds this season, he added: “We have been in quite a few Wales squads together and he is a fantastic talent and you saw today what he can bring to the team.”

Of their lofty position after having looked set to be involved in a relegation struggle, Nyatanga continued: “To be honest, we did not envisage being in the top six a couple of months back but in football things can change very quickly in a short space of time.

“It’s great having everyone fit and having competition for places, which will push everyone. We have everyone back apart from Rammers (Peter Ramage) and that’s great going into the end of the season.

“We can’t think we have cracked it because every game is very tough and we need to keep it going.”

Regarding the effect his new manager and former team-mate has had, Nyatanga said: “I played with him at Bristol City a lot and he was a very good footballer, very technical and I think he has brought that into our team in the way he wants us to play.

“He has not had much time with us but is slowly implementing how he wants us to play.”

Of his own goal-scoring prowess, Nyatanaga added: “I was just pleased being in the right place at the right time. We have great delivery from set plays and we have been working a lot on attacking set plays and, as you can see, they are coming off.

“It’s definitely working. I’m on five now and that’s definitely the most I have scored in a season, which is really pleasing.”