Barnsley 1 Doncaster Rovers 0: Fletcher nets derby winner at Oakwell

Barnsley's Ashley Fletcher, (left) celebrating after scoring the winner.
Barnsley's Ashley Fletcher, (left) celebrating after scoring the winner.
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A POACHER’S goal nine minutes from time from substitute Ashley Fletcher earned Barnsley the spoils in the Pitman’s derby as Doncaster Rovers’ winless sequence extended to a worrying seven games.

Fletcher was on hand to fire home the rebound aftrer Thorsten Stuckmann failed to hold onto Conor Hourihane’s low shot.

Barnsley v Doncaster.

Barnsley v Doncaster.

The strike helped the Reds retain their outside hopes of gatecrashing the top six, while Rovers are likely to be far concerned with matters at the other end of the League One table.

Despite an improved performance on last weekend’s dismal showing against Sheffield United, Rovers could not find the net with Barnsley deservedly securing victory as they claimed their first win over their near-neighbours in seven attempts.

Barnsley - with caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom at the helm for the first time at Oakwell - were dominant in the first period and despite Rovers coming into the game on the restart and showing more intent, the Reds finished strongly and were rewarded with a late winner.

Barnsley had the better of the first period with Adam Hammill in outstanding form, although the half was marred by a serious looking injury to Aidan White.

White went down in a heap after appearing to land awkwardly after being brought down from behind by returning Rovers midfielder Conor Grant on 25 minutes - and after considerable medical attention, he was stretchered off and replaced by George Williams.

Barnsley, with Hammill in outstanding form at the heart of everything, produced an at times exhilarating half, with the only thing missing being a goal.

The wingman went close after a jinking run with his angled shot impressively parried by Thorsten Stuckmann, who also denied Alfie Mawson with a key save - while top-scorer Sam Winnall went close with an early header following James Bree’s hanging cross.

Rovers - who recalled Stuckmann, Mitchell and Grant - also had their moments in an open half and went close just before the break when captain Paul Keegan dragged a shot just wide after good approach play from Cedric Evina.

Lund was also afforded a sight of goal earlier on in proceedings, diverting a cross off target when well placed after ghosting in following a Grant corner.

Barnsley’s approach play was first class for much of the half, with Hammill posing all sorts of problems down the left.

After an at times arduous first half, Rovers were able to regroup at the break, with a change seeing James Coppinger replacing Harry Middleton and another early substitution on the restart saw Craig Alcock come on for Cameron Stewart, with the experienced defender reverting to right-back and Lund - who had struggled at times with Hammill - moving further forward.

And it was Lund, not tracked, who had an excellent chance to break the deadlock after Rovers conjured a quality move on the break involving Williams and Coppinger, who played in the youngster, whose fierce shot as he bore down on goal was parried by Adam Davies.

After their dominance in the first period, play was more even on the restart with Rovers showing more assertion, poise and threat.

Heckingbottom, in a bid to wrestle back the initiative, made a double change on the hour with Fletcher and Josh Scowen replacing Lloyd Isgrove and Josh Brownhill.

But it was Rovers who were suddenly looking the more accomplished, with Lund afforded acres of space down the right and frustrating starting to creep into the hosts’ play.

The Reds eventually did step things up a notch with Hammill supplying Fletcher, but his shot lacked conviction, with Luke McCullough getting in a half-block and Stuckmann gathering in comfort.

Straightaway, the big German had something more substantive to do, tipping over a rising shot from Hourihane as Barnsley belatedly showed signs of getting their act together and starting to pressurise Rovers.

Winnall was the next to threaten with his header held by Stuckmann following Williams’ deep cross, with the Reds marksman failing to get sufficient power on his effort.

But soon after, the Reds forged ahead when Fletcher tapped home his first league for the club, pouncing quickly after Stuckmann spilled Hourihane’s shot.

The Rovers custodian then denied man-of-the-match Hammill as the hosts sought a killer second, but in the event, one goal was enough.

Barnsley: Davies; Bree, Roberts, Mawson, White (G Williams 25); Isgrove (Fletcher 60), Brownhill (Scowen 60), Hourihane, Hammill; Watkins, Winnall. Substitutes unused: Townsend, Khan, Nyatanga, Tuton.

Doncaster Rovers: Stuckmann; Lund, McCullough, Taylor-Sinclair, Evina; Stewart (Alcock 53), Keegan (Gooch 82), Middleton (Coppinger 45), Grant; A Williams, Tyson. Substitutes unused: Marosi, Mandeville, Chaplow, Butler.

Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 11,638 (1,421 Doncaster Rovers supporters).

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