Barnsley 2 Bristol City 0: Tykes pick up huge win to move within two points of Championship safety

BARNSLEY'S previous five Oakwell meetings with Bristol City had all bizarrely ended 2-2, with this particular scoreline colloquially referred to by football supporters as a 'Desmond' - in homage to the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Thankfully, the Reds aren't at the stage of requiring divine intervention in their latest act of relegation escapology yet, but many of their fans would have been forgiven for praying for a precious three points from a game which looked to be the sort they must win to remain in the second-tier come May 7.

They did just that with the idiosyncratic scoreline sequence ending on a night when contributions arrived across the board to help Barnsley extend their unbeaten Oakwell sequence to five matches.

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More importantly after cruel late blows against Stoke City and Fulham, Barnsley saw this one out, which is what you most do at this time of year.

DECISIVE: Barnsley recorded a 2-0 win over Bristol City at Oakwell on Tuesday night. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Poya Asbaghi said that victory would finish off a good past month as he put it, but there was an unfortunate caveat.

The one downer to an important night came when Barnsley's leader of the pack up front in Carlton Morris, who had put them ahead and is so key to their cause, came off with 20 minutes to go with a tight calf. He came off as a precaution, Poya Asbaghi confirmed after.

As for the table, Barnsley are two points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Reading, who they happen to host in their next home game on April 2. Game on, as the saying goes.

Barnsley faced a Robins side who had not won back-to-back league games in just over a year and for much of this game, it was easy to see why. Certainly in the first half.

DECISIVE: Barnsley recorded a 2-0 win over Bristol City at Oakwell on Tuesday night. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

A defensive lieutenant of repute in his playing days with Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, Nigel Pearson’s words with his weak backline at the interval are likely to have been quite something.

Every time the ball flew into the City box, they looked susceptible and Barnsley filled their boots to help themselves to their first two set-piece goals of the league campaign inside the opening 21 minutes.

The identity of the two goalscorers should not have come as no surprise either, given their recent form and importance to the Reds’ cause.

Should Barnsley secure a third ‘Great Escape’ in under a decade, both Morris and Michal Helik will be massive to achieve that. Morris, a real talisman up top, bullied City’s backline as he did to Middlesbrough a few weeks back and was a constant outlet.

DECISIVE: Barnsley recorded a 2-0 win over Bristol City at Oakwell on Tuesday night. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

He found space to steer home the opener, low past Daniel Bentley, after Matty Wolfe diverted Amine Bassi’s left-wing corner into his path.

City did not heed the warning and marking was again non-existent as Helik found space to deftly nod home a second after another Bassi corner on the left.

Another highlight of the half saw Morris totally tie visiting defender Rob Atkinson in knots before setting up Claudio Gomes, whose goalbound effort was deflected over by Robbie Cundy.

Ahead of the game, only Reading and Peterborough have shipped more goals than City and it was easy to see why.

That said, it was worth noting that they were also the highest scorers outside of the top ten and the way they finished the half suggested that Barnsley would need to display sound decision-making on the resumption to nail down three critical points.

Something that they hadn't done in their previous two home matches at some cost.

A warning had seen dangerman Antoine Semeyo skin Helik down the left and set up 17-goal Andi Weimann at the far post.

Fortunately, his aim was as wayward as that of Fulham’s Harry Wilson in the dying embers on Saturday.

City posted pressure in the second half and an injury to substitute Joe Williams saw them throw on Nahki Wells and effectively field four forwards.

Barnsley were unable to wait on the counter with Quina going close twice with two strikes from distance in a half which was all about game management from their perspective. They didn't have to chase the game.

Despite the unwanted disruption after Morris exited, Brad Collins was protected relatively well, even if he had to make one important save to keep out Jay Dasilva's low shot, with Mads

Anderson blocking Semenyo's follow-up.

Remy Vita tested the reactions of Daniel Bentley at the other end, while Chris Martin went close at the other end. No bitter twist this time around.

Barnsley: Collins; Brittain, Helik, Andersen, Vita (Oduor 90); Gomes, Wolfe; Quina, Bassi, Styles (Kitching 72); Morris (Cole 70). Substitutes unused: Walton, Iseka, Palmer, Halme.

Bristol City: Bentley; Cundy, Klose, Atkinson; Weimann, Scott (Williams 39 (Wells 55)), Massengo, James, Dasilva; Semenyo (Conway 87), Martin. Substitutes unused: Wiles-Richards, Pring, Vyner, Bell.

Referee: D Webb (County Durham).