Barnsley 3 Middlesbrough 2 - Victorious Reds look to have another instalment of ‘The Great Escape’ in production

THE Oscars take place in late March, but there is only one production that Barnsley are interested in viewing – a re-run of The Great Escape.

The original transpired in 2012-13 and then there was a glorious sequel at the tail-end of 2019-20, with the green shoots of recovery beginning as thoughts turned from winter to spring.

Hull and Middlesbrough were beaten at the end of February 2020, just like now and the unmistakable whiff of nostalgia was in the air again at Oakwell.

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Barnsley were pumped up, unified and watched each other’s backs en route to their third successive home win over Boro.

26 February 2022..... Barnsley v Middlesbrough, EFL Championship. Barnsley's Mads Andersen nods the ball pastr Boro keeper Joe Lumley to score the opener. Picture Tony Johnson

Their stirring showing – where contributions arrived across the board – was a reminder of better times and like being reacquainted with an old friend.

It was the sort of ultra-committed performance that all successful survival missions are forged upon. A team display in the truest sense of the word.

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds rang out from the Pontefract Road end in the second half. A chorus of ‘The Reds are staying up’ was also aired after the hosts won back-to-back games for the first time since last April.

Following the disquiet and darkness of much of 2021-22 where there has been plenty of gallows humour, it made for sweet music.

Happy Reds: Tykes' Mads Andersen celebrates his goal with Carlton Morris and Michal Helik. Picture Tony Johnson

The statistics are this. After winning just twice in their opening 29 league matches of 2021-22, Barnsley have won three of their last four games.

There’s a long way to go for sure, but Barnsley have given themselves a fighting chance and are back in the game after a glorious Saturday when results elsewhere went for them and they moved off the bottom.

Next up is a colossal six-pointer at Derby. Barnsley go there with their mojo back and in the mood.

January may have been wretched for Barnsley in comparison to February, but events on its last day may yet prove telling.

Winning feeling: Barnsley manager Poya Asbaghi smiles after beating Boro. Picture: Tony Johnson

Barnsley were lambasted for their perceived tardiness in the winter window, but the arrivals of Amine Bassi and Domingos Quina may just have saved their season in the nick of time.

Back in October 2013, Barnsley also beat Boro 3-2 at Oakwell on a day when Paddy McCourt – aka the ‘Derry Pele’ – scored a magical goal in a dazzling display.

Here, Barnsley’s ‘Bury Baggio’ Callum Styles came to the party and he was by no means alone.

The hosts also possessed the Gallic flair of Bassi, who scored twice and set up the opener and the power and leadership of Carlton Morris, who bullied Boro’s backline masterfully.

Chris Wilder, who always calls a game well, considered the big forward with a big heart as the difference on the day.

Mads Andersen and Michal Helik were the goods at the back alongside Jordan Williams, who produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny a certain goal for Andraz Sporar early in the second half. Its importance was heightened when Barnsley went 3-0 in front moments later courtesy of Bassi. It proved decisive.

For Boro, Oakwell is rapidly becoming a bogey ground. They have failed to win here in their last six league visits, five of which have now ended in defeat.

The Riverside may be a fortress, but away from home, Boro are becoming too charitable. They have leaked seven goals in their last three games on their travels and taken one point from their last four on the road. For a top-six aspirant, it is not enough at this stage of proceedings.

Their defensive performance was a reminder of sloppy early-season games under Neil Warnock. Just as Boro flattered to deceive in front of full away ends at Coventry and Hull in the autumn, they did so again at Oakwell.

Anfernee Dijksteel had a rotten afternoon, culminating in his error for the killer third goal. Paddy McNair and Dael Fry, who received bouquets recently at Old Trafford, were given a reality check after being roughed up by Morris, who signalled his intent testing Joe Lumley with an early downward volley.

Wilder felt his backline were too deep early on and while the hosts’ opener was well-taken, it was soft from a Boro perspective.

Quina swept the ball to Bassi, given time and space to send over a probing cross which was headed in powerfully by Andersen.

Morris’s aggression helped tee up Bassi for the second, with his low shot trickling in after he wasn’t taken care of.

Barnsley’s collective intensity in the press was a defining feature of a first half in which Boro never got going.

Sent out early ahead of the second half and with Aaron Connolly and Flo Balogun brought on at the interval, Boro got better, but Barnsley had threat on the break.

It yielded a third when Bassi seized on Dijksteel’s slip before guiding the ball under the legs of the badly-positioned Lumley.

A nudge from Remy Vita on Isaiah Jones enabled Sporar to reduce the arrears from the spot in a half when Balogun also shuddered the post twice.

Fry tapped home moments before the end from Dijksteel’s centre. But it was Barnsley’s day, deservedly.