Birmingham City 2 Barnsley FC 1: Reds suffer loss to fellow strugglers

Barnsley’s season lurched from bad to worse as they suffered yet another defeat at the foot of the Championship.

It allowed Birmingham to put breathing room between themselves and the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over Barnsley at St Andrew’s.

Onel Hernandez broke the deadlock on his home debut after signing on loan from Norwich with a low strike into the bottom corner in the first half.

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Scott Hogan’s second goal in three games doubled Blues’ lead and secured their first win since the end of November and their first of 2022.

Birmingham City's Scott Hogan celebrates scoring his teams second goal against Barnsley (Picture: PA)

Hogan, who rescued a point at Preston last weekend, was the matchwinner when he was in the right place at the right time to stab the ball home and earn three valuable points for Birmingham.

Victor Adeboyejo pulled a goal back for the Tykes with his third goal of the season with a low drive into the back of the net after the ball fell to the striker in a busy penalty area with three minutes remaining, but they could not rescue a point.

The home side had countless chances to add to their lead, with Hernandez a catalyst in everything Lee Bowyer’s side produced against the league’s bottom side - now winless in the league for nine games.

Teenager Jordan James was presented with two opportunities immediately after each other in the first half. After failing to direct his header from six yards out on target, the 17-year-old curled the ball just over after goalkeeper Bradley Collins gave the ball away.

Birmingham City's Scott Hogan battles for the ball with Barnsley goalkeeper Bradley Collins (Picture: PA)

Despite scoring the league’s fewest goals this season, Barnsley managed to test Neil Etheridge throughout the first half, with Callum Styles, Adeboyejo and Carlton Morris all forcing the goalkeeper into smart saves.

But Bowyer’s side took the lead for the first time in five games when Hernandez calmly slotted the ball past Collins after Lukas Jutkiewicz played the winger behind the Barnsley defence in the 34th minute.

Their lead was doubled five minutes into the second half thanks to Hogan’s eighth goal of the season. Ryan Woods’ corner from the left was not dealt with by Collins and the visiting defence and Hogan poked the ball into the empty net from close range.

Poya Asbaghi’s men almost halved the deficit after falling two goals behind when Styles’ effort skipped past Etheridge’s post after Marc Roberts did enough to pressure the midfielder in the box.

Former Norwich striker Morris came close also, with his attempted overhead kick beating everyone apart from the post before Etheridge collected the ball.

With four minutes remaining, Barnsley gave themselves a chance of salvaging a point when Adeboyejo smashed low and hard past Etheridge following Mads Andersen flick-on.

However, the visitors failed to muster a final chance in seven minutes of stoppage time.