Cauley Woodrow described his Oakwell stunner as “probably one of the best goals I have ever scored”.
The real shame was that it was not enough to earn Barnsley victory against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
There seemed little danger to the Addicks goal, but Woodrow –with a hint of Dennis Bergkamp to his technique – produced a sumptuous strike and you will struggle to see a better goal at Oakwell all season.
After a half-hit clearance to the edge of the penalty area, Woodrow plucked the ball out of the air and swivelled before unleashing a stunning volley which rocketed into the top corner of Dillon Phillips’s net. Quite a way to open this term’s goals account.
“It’s only been three games that I haven’t scored for, but it feels like a while,” said Woodrow. “When I saw it hit the net, I was obviously delighted.
“It was a nice goal, probably one of the best goals I have ever scored, if I am honest.
It was a nice goal, probably one of the best goals I have ever scored, if I am honest.Cauley Woodrow
“Sometimes, it is just instinctive, the ball comes to you quickly and you have to make a quick decision. Thankfully, this time it went in the top corner. A lot of times it doesn’t, and ends up over the stand.
“On a personal note, it was really nice to get off the mark.”
The first clear chance fell to the visitors after four minutes, Ben Purrington ghosting in unmarked at the far post onto Lyle Taylor’s cross but he dragged his shot wide.
Taylor – the former Sheffield United striker – then came to Charlton’s rescue at the opposite end, preventing an own goal after Darren Pratley’s miscued header arrowed towards his own net.
This encounter between two clubs finding their feet in the Championship after promotion last season, needed a goal but nobody inside Oakwell expected the moment of genius from Woodrow on 34 minutes.
Having netted 19 goals last season, it was the striker’s first of the campaign.
“I wasn’t worried about not scoring, it’s part of being a striker.” said the 24-year-old.
“I went five games at times last season without scoring, missed three months of the season, and managed to score 19 goals. So my confidence wasn’t low. It was nice to get my first goal and, hopefully, there will be many more to come.”
The Reds should have doubled their advantage but Woodrow proved to be less clinical from six yards out. The former Fulham forward dived in, but shot straight at Phillips from close range.
Barnsley’s lead lasted just six minutes. Jonny Williams found space down the right flank and his cross picked out Conor Gallagher, who drilled the ball low beyond Samuel Radlinger five minutes before half-time.
Conor Chaplin – the former Coventry City forward on his first league start for Barnsley – was rewarded for an energetic display with a goal three minutes after the restart.
He skipped through the Addicks defence before wrong-footing Phillips with a clever finish.
The summer signing almost made it 3-1 when he had the visitors back-tracking, only to see his fierce shot clear the crossbar.
With Kieffer Moore sold to Wigan Athletic, Chaplin has big boots to fill.
“I am really pleased for him,” said Woodrow. “I remember my first goal for the club and it’s a great moment.
“It takes a bit of pressure off yourself as a striker. It was a great finish, he showed good feet in box, and, hopefully, he is going to be an important player for us this season.”
Charlton’s best chance of an equaliser looked to be Taylor, who cut inside only to be denied by Reds goalkeeper Radlinger.
But just as Charlton’s unbeaten start to life back in the Championship seemed to be over, referee Matthew Donohue gave them a lifeline with an 89th-minute penalty decision.
There seemed to be little danger as Gallagher ran across the area but Bambo Diaby – the impressive Reds centre-back - stuck out a leg and Donohue was quick to point to the spot. Up walked Taylor, rather nonchalantly, before stroking the ball into the net.
Dropping two points was hard to swallow for Barnsley – without the injured Alex Mowett – but at least they had the consolation of seeing their unbeaten home run stretch to 29 league games.
Barnsley’s Oakwell form this season will be key to staying in the Championship
“This has got to be the place where we pick up points, because away from home it is tough, as we found out at Sheffield Wednesday,” said Woodrow. “If we can pick up a lot of points at Oakwell it will get us going in the right direction, to be successful.
“Everyone knows how long we have been unbeaten here. All the teams are aware of it and we are going to make it as tough as possible for teams coming here.
“We are a very young team, I am one of the older players now at 24 but we are improving week by week. It’s going to take time, we have a lot of new players, new nationalities, but everyone is settling in.
“It was a massive improvement from Sheffield Wednesday and the cup game against Carlisle. We were back to our old selves in terms of energy and the style of football we want to play.
“But, at the same time, we were really disappointed to concede a goal in the last few minutes and draw the game.
“If we had got the three points it would have been a really good win for us but it just wasn’t enough.”
Barnsley: Radlinger, Sibbick, Diaby, Andersen, Williams, Thomas, Bahre, McGeehan, Wilks (Styles 90), Chaplin (Thiam 78), Woodrow. Unused substitutes: Williams, Cavare, Schmidt, Halme, Collins.
Charlton: Phillips, Solly (Oshilaja 24), Lockyer, Pearce, Purrington, Pratley (Bonne 84), Cullen, Gallagher, Williams, Leko (Aneke 70), Taylor. Unused substitutes: Amos, Forster-Caskey, Sarr, Lapslie.
Referee: M Donohue (England).
Good day: Cauley Woodrow
With no Keiffer Moore at the club, last season’s top scorer needs to deliver goals in the Championship, so he will have been relieved to get off the mark with a stunning volley.
Bad day: Bambo Diaby
The Senegalese centre-back joined Barnsley in the summer and looks a good addition. But he gave away the late penalty, which denied his side all three points on Saturday.
34th minute: Woodrow’s opening goal, which surely will be a goal of the season contender.
Matt Donohue: Got the penalty call correct, but made a few strange decisions.
A point was probably fair, but Barnsley will be kicking themselves for not hanging on for victory.
Birmingham City v Barnsley, tomorrow, 7.45pm, Championship.