Conor Chaplin claims first senior hat-trick to put life back into Barnsley's fight for Championship survival

Conor Chaplin scored a hat-trick to help Barnsley pick up a vital three points.
Conor Chaplin scored a hat-trick to help Barnsley pick up a vital three points.
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Prior to kick-off in Barnsley's 5-3 victory over QPR, Conor Chaplin had found the net just four times in 20 appearances this season.

But by the 51st-minute in Saturday's crucial victory, the Barnsley forward had completed his first-ever senior hat-trick.

Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber.

Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber.

The 22-year-old's treble sent the Reds on their way to a 5-3 victory and only their third league win this term.

Defeats for Middlesbrough and Luton Town, against Swansea City and Preston North End respectively, coupled with a draw between Wigan Athletic and Huddersfield Town will have come as welcome news for the Tykes as they closed the gap between themselves and sides directly above them.

The victory puts them within striking distance of 21st place and with still over half of the season to play, there will be plenty of hope around Oakwell that their fight for survival is far from over.

Top-scorer Cauley Woodrow and Bambo Diaby scored the hosts' fourth and five goals as Barnsley romped home for a well-deserved win.

The hosts got off to the perfect start as Jacob Brown found space on the right and cut the ball back for Chaplin to side-foot home from inside the penalty area on seven minutes.

That elation was short-lived however, as Luke Amos drew the Rs level when he was first to react after Jordan Hugill's shot had came out off the post.

But Chaplin was on hand to grab his second goal of the afternoon, and sixth of the season, as he fired the ball into the roof of the net from Alex Mowatt's corner with 18 minutes on the clock.

Barnsley chief Gerhard Struber opted for just one change from the side that drew 1-1 with Reading on Wednesday night as Clarke Oduor was drafted in for the injured Ben Williams.

The Reds could have put the visitors out of sight by the interval as Joe Lumley got down low to prevent the ball being turned into the QPR goal by his own teammate.

And in first-half added time, Chaplin was left incensed after he was taken out in the penalty area but nothing was forthcoming from referee Keith Stroud.

Barnsley had their two-goal cushion by the 51st minute when Chaplin drilled a rebound through a crowd of players and sprinted to celebrate with the jubilant Oakwell faithful.

QPR were straight back in the contest, however, as Amos slammed home his second goal, firing high into the top corner after Sami Radlinger had parried Ryan Manning's shot.

But the hosts had some comfort again when Woodrow was fouled in the area by Geoff Cameron and the Reds top-scorer made no mistake from the spot, dispatching the ball low and hard to the keeper's right.

QPR have picked up 12 points from losing positions this season - only West Brom boast a better record - and almost fought their way back into the contest.

Eberechi Eze had an effort brilliantly kept out by Radlinger before Ilias Chair struck the crossbar from the edge of the area.

But Barnsley made sure of the points when a free-kick was played down the right to Jacob Brown who slid the ball across goal for Bambo Diaby to finish and seal all three points.

Ilias Chair did pull a consolation back for the away side with the last kick of the game but it mattered little.

Bansley: Radlinger; Williams, Diaby, Andersen, Oduor (McGeehan 83); Dougall, Bahre (Thomas 31), Mowatt, Woodrow; Brown, Chaplin. Unused substitutes: Collins, Sibbick, Thiam, Mottley-Henry, Marsh.

QPR: Lumley; Manning, Wallace (Wells 56), Leistner, Hall, Kane; Eze, Cameron (Chair 67), Amos; Hugill, Osayi-Samuel. Unused substitutes: Barnes, Smith, Pugh, Ball, Mlakar, Wells.

Referee: Keith Stroud.