Crewe Alexandra 1 Barnsley 3: Tykes relish possible chance to shine against one of big names

Barnsley's Jacob Brown was on the mark after just three minutes against Crewe Alexandra (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).Barnsley's Jacob Brown was on the mark after just three minutes against Crewe Alexandra (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Barnsley's Jacob Brown was on the mark after just three minutes against Crewe Alexandra (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
It has been seven years since Barnsley last waited in anticipation for the FA Cup fourth round draw.

But following a win over League Two Crewe Alexandra on Sunday afternoon, all eyes at Oakwell will be watching with excitement to see which ball will be paired with No 17.

Since securing famous wins over Liverpool at Anfield and Chelsea at Oakwell in 2008, the 2012-13 campaign has been the only time Barnsley have put together a notable run in the FA Cup.

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In 2013 they were knocked out by Manchester City – who would go on to win the Premier League title the following season – following a 5-0 defeat in the quarter-finals of the famous old competition.

“Everyone wants a big team,” said Barnsley assistant manager Matt Rose following the Tykes’ win at Crewe.

“Everyone wants to go on a cup run; the chances of winning the FA Cup from outside the top teams is always very slim.

“The aim is to get a good cup run and get a big team. If you ask the players what they want, they want to play a big team.

“It is a chance for some of them to shine.”

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Despite a two-goal winning margin at the Alexandra Stadium, the Tykes, who provided an instant response to their 2-1 defeat at Derby County, were made to work for their place in the next round.

After dominating the first 15 minutes, the Reds were pressed more frantically by their hosts, who should have been level before the half-time interval. Instead the Reds went into the break with a 1-0 lead after Jacob Brown – one of four changes made by Gerhard Struber – volleyed home in the third minute.

Daniel Powell had missed two brilliant chances for the home side, firing one effort wide from six yards.

“We started the game very well and for the first 15 minutes we had a game plan which worked very well,” said Rose.

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“But after that we invited them back into the game with too many long balls.”

Crewe equalised three minutes into the second half when Paul Green rose highest to head home from close range.

It was a goal that was richly deserved for the hosts, who currently sit third in League Two.

Rose continued: “There was the spell in the second half when they equalised.

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“But I think we rode that well and in the end it was quite professional and it is job done.

“It is good for confidence and it is good for team spirit to see that we can come here and defend well and come to places like this and get results.”

Crewe had scored 17 goals in their last six league outings ahead of yesterday’s cup clash.

It was something that Barnsley were all too aware of as they prevented the League Two side from hitting their free-flowing best.

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“Crewe are a good team. If you let them play football and do what they are good at, they will cause you problems,” said Rose.

“But what we managed to do was stifle that.”

Conor Chaplin nodded home a vital second for Barnsley with 15 minutes remaining. Alex Mowatt’s free-kick was knocked into the striker’s path by Bambo Diaby and the No 11 placed a stooping header into the far corner.

Crewe, with one of the last acts of the contest, instructed goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen to make his way forward for a threatening free-kick in stoppage-time.

The set piece was headed away before falling at the feet of Kenny Dougall, who thumped the ball long in search of a team-mate.

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And Luke Thomas was alert as he showed incredible pace to latch onto the ball and guide it into the empty net for his first goal since the opening day of the season. Rose admitted he was relieved to see the ball roll across the line as Barnsley avoided adding a third-round replay to their already hectic fixture list.

“I don’t think anyone wanted a replay,” he said.

“The amount of games you get, especially in the Championship, is phenomenal.”

Rose feels that the cup victory can help provide Barnsley with some momentum as they now turn their attention towards the league and a crucial home clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

He added: “It was important to win. We have had a great run and it has taken a lot of effort to pull ourselves into this situation.

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“The Christmas period and the effort to overturn that eight-point deficit showed a little in our performance and in our legs.

“It will be nice to have a week to re-gather and go again.”

Rose added: “For us this win is important to keep our confidence up. From our last seven games we have had five good results. It was important to not follow up the Derby County defeat with another defeat.”

Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen; Ng, Wintle, Hunt, Pickering; Green, Lowery; Ainley (Finney 82), Kirk (Dale 76), Powell; Anene. Unused substitutes: Richards, Jones, Johnson, Adebisi, Mbulu.

Barnsley: Collins; Williams, Diaby, Andersen, Oduor (Williams 78); Dougall; Mowatt, Thomas; Simoes (Schmidt 72); Chaplin, Brown. Unused substitutes: Radlinger, Bahre, Styles, Sibbick, Halme.

Referee: J Linnington (Newport).