Barnsley plotting a great escape after leaving Huddersfield Town back in trouble

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NO unanimity, love-in or hearty chants of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ either.

The emotions after this latest ‘Survival Saturday’ encounter between two near-neighbours on either side of the Emley Moor mast – whose Championship tenure is again in peril – could not have been more contrasting.

Eyes on survival: 'Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt celebrates after slotting home the opening goal at Oakwell

Eyes on survival: 'Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt celebrates after slotting home the opening goal at Oakwell

Barnsley and Huddersfield Town are inextricably bound by events on a mad Spring day at the John Smith’s Stadium in May 2013 when they retained their second-tier status and fans formed a mutual appreciation society on the pitch afterwards.

It was a final-day showpiece famous for ex-Reds goalkeeper and captain Luke Steele having the ball at his feet, in open play, for fully two minutes with home and away players urging to keep it and leaving him unchallenged as the clock ticked down with a 2-2 draw meaning that both White Rose rivals were safe from relegation.

This time around, the audience were treated to the sight of visiting custodian Kamil Grabara charge into the Barnsley box in the dying moments in a desperate and frenzied quest to try and salvage a point for the angst Terriers.

He almost bundled in a leveller as well and was certainly more agitated than Steele was.

It was massive for us. In the first half, I thought we were much the better team and we dominated. In the second half, it was a bit more scrappy, but it was nice to see the game out and get a win.

Alex Mowatt

In the end, there was relief at the shrill of the final whistle for the rejuvenated Reds, but more importantly, there was real hope.

By contrast, there was a grim realisation for Huddersfield that they are back down among the Championship dead men.

It was a display that saw them show far more urgency and intensity on the resumption – after belatedly realising that this game was a derby and a pretty important one at that – but the method and sophistication ultimately came from those in red.

It will surprise few of a Barnsley persuasion that one of those who stepped up to the plate was captain Alex Mowatt, who tucked away the Reds’ opener and is a player who is possessing authority, drive and direction in equal measure these days.

Stunner: Huddersfield's Lewis O'Brien celebrates after scoring.

Stunner: Huddersfield's Lewis O'Brien celebrates after scoring.

The midfielder famously scored a wonder goal against Town in the colours of Leeds back in November 2015. His opener on Saturday was far more prosaic, but no less important.

Mowatt said: “It was massive for us. In the first half, I thought we were much the better team and we dominated.

“In the second half, it was a bit more scrappy, but it was nice to see the game out and get a win.

“We want to drag as many teams in there as we can and make it a dogfight for a lot more teams than just four.”

Others in red are coming of age as well such as the indefatigable Jacob Brown, a hive of industry who set up both of Barnsley’s goals and gave namesake Jaden Brown such a chasing that he was hauled off at the interval.

Aapo Halme held the centre ground impressively on a day when at least one Huddersfield lad – in Meltham-raised Jordan Williams – had a day to savour against his hometown club. And then there was the irrepressible Conor Chaplin.

Their exploits more than compensated for the leadership vacuum left by the unavailability of Cauley Woodrow. Indeed, it is a barometer of Barnsley’s progress in how they coped with his absence so admirably.

Contrast that with a Huddersfield side who looked pretty rudderless without their talisman in the suspended Jonathan Hogg, a player they must also make do without in next weekend’s encounter with buoyant Brentford.

Fronting up after a tough day for Town, striker Fraizer Campbell candidly acknowledged: “We killed ourselves in the first half.

“The amount of effort we gave was miles off what we expect.”

It was a day also notable for the half-time substitution of top-scorer Karlan Grant for tactical reasons.

He thoroughly under-whelmed in a desperately disappointing first half for Town, although he was not alone.

The polish and energy came from Barnsley and the occasion passed too many Town players by.

The opener was smart, if owing a fair bit to defensive ineptitude.

Mads Andersen’s sweeping diagonal caught out Jaden Brown, who was outfoxed by his namesake, with his cross turned in by the supporting Mowatt.

Barnsley hinted at a second before Town – who received some lusty boos from their big 4,436 visiting contingent at the break – took the chance to regroup at the interval and make two changes, with Steve Mounie thrown onto support Campbell.

Town went direct and improved, although they could hardly have got much worse, before being stung by a second home goal with Chaplin crowning his richly-deserved Championship player of the month award for December with his ninth goal in 12 games, from Brown’s assist.

A howitzer from Lewis O’Brien instantly reduced the arrears with Mounie going close to a leveller as Town pressed late on.

But this time, Barnsley held their nerve at the back to extend their unbeaten home sequence to five matches.

Whisper it gently, but the Great Escape part two is on.