Barnsley 0 Wigan Athletic 2: Tykes stay troubled at Christmas after Wigan woe

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson.
Barnsley boss Lee Johnson.
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BARNSLEY remain firmly entrenched in the drop zone after failing to complete the double over Wigan at Oakwell.

Andy Kellett’s first-half strike and a late opportunist effort from Dutchman Yanic Wildschut two minutes after coming on kept Wigan in the play-off picture as the Reds conceded for a 17th successive game.

Reds chief Lee Johnson opted to drop captain Alfie Mawson to accommodate the return of Kevin Long after a three-match ban against the side they had recently defeated on penalties in the JP Trophy northern semi-final.

The Burnley loanee accompanied Lewin Nyatanga in the heart of defence in the 4-4-2 formation which had produced a 3-2 win at Colchester in the previous match.

Up against them was former Reds midfield dynamo David Perkins as Gary Caldwell selected a 3-4-3 line-up.

Barnsley pressed from the start and former Leeds defender Jason Pearce collected an early booking but Will Grigg should have headed Wigan into a 10th-minute lead but glanced wide.

In reply, Sam Winnall got under a whipped in cross from Adam Hammill and headed over before Wigan took a 19th-minute lead.

Central defender Craig Morgan launched the ball upfield, Grigg chested down and Michael Jacons fed it through for Andy Kellett to curl the ball inside Adam Davies’s right-hand post for his first goal for the visitors.

Apart from Marley Watkins failing to make proper connection to a downward header from Ivan Toney, Barnsley’s response was poor and they deservedly trailed at the break.

Neither side made changes and Barnsley received a let-off soon after the interval when Max Power chipped over Davies but the ball floated wide.

Davies’s outstretched boot prevented Kellett making it 2-0 as he raced down the middle onto a through ball from Jacobs in the 60th minute before being replaced by former Rotherham striker Alex Revell.

Ryan Williams replaced Watkins before Winnall wasted an opportunity by mis-kicking from inside the area.

Simeon Jackson also came on for Toney as the Reds failed to dent the Wigan rearguard - Tim Chow replacing Donald Love for the visitors.

Winnall got another opportunity in front of goal but delayed his shot and the effort was blocked.

Boro loanee Wildschut replaced Grigg in the closing stages as Wigan went to a five-man defence which the Reds rarely threatened.

Wildschut made the game safe when Long and Revell collided, the referee waved play on and the Dutchman collected the loose ball, went wide of the onrushing Davies and knocked the ball into an empty net in the 86th minute.

Captain Conor Hourihane curled a free-kick inches over in reply but the Reds were well beaten.