BARNSLEY have become accustomed to having their star assets poached by other clubs.
From John Stones to James Bree, Conor Hourihane to Brad Potts, the Reds’ transfer policy has been to polish players and give them a solid grounding before allowing them to move on and net a tidy profit for the club.
Another crucial member of staff has recently been allowed to move on, albeit from the non-playing staff with Andreas Winkler tempted by the bright lights of Huddersfield Town and the Premier League.
But rather than rue yet another departure from their ranks, the Reds put in a dogged performance to maintain their aspirations of an immediate return to the second tier.
This season the locals in this particular corner of South Yorkshire have been treated to entertaining football that has garnered its reward in terms of points accrued.
Understandably then, the bar has been set high when it comes to Oakwell encounters this term.
Sometimes we need the dirty victories and this was one. The mentality was good and we turned the game around.Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel
Daniel Stendel described this comeback victory over Rochdale as “dirty”.
Indeed, it shows how far the club has come that the head coach admitted he was unhappy with the showing of his attacking players despite his two star strikers, Kieffer Moore and Cauley Woodrow, being responsible for maintaining the team’s unbeaten streak at Oakwell this season.
“Sometimes we need the dirty victories and this was one,” said the German chief. “The mentality was good and we turned the game around.
“I’m not sure but I think it was the first game we win where we have not been in front (gone behind).
“They (Moore and Woodrow) did not have the best game but they came up with the quality that we need. I’m happy that they scored but I expected a better performance from all the offensive players. It’s not easy to show the best performances every week. But we can play better and we will show that in the next games.”
The first half of this contest was a non-event with neither goalkeeper sufficiently tested.
In a game lacking any real urgency, Barnsley full-back Dimitiri Cavare took it upon himself to deliver some impetus into the encounter.
Unfortunately for him, his enterprising gallops forward were brought to a halt by his lack of composure in the opposition area.
Top scorer Moore had a quiet first half and was limited to a snapshot that sailed well over into the Ponty End.
Bizarrely, the opening goal from Rochdale was just the fillip that Barnsley needed.
Ian Henderson, the veteran striker, applied a cool finish to a quickly-taken free-kick that caught the hosts’ backline napping.
But it did not take long for the hosts to awake from their slumber.
First, Moore let rip from outside the area with a zipping effort that gave Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis no chance.
Then a sublime piece of skill from academy product Jacob Brown saw him set up Woodrow, who emphatically lashed the ball home.
That was how it stayed as the Reds moved up to third and trimmed the gap on second-placed Portsmouth to just two points.
Heady times at Oakwell, then.
Stendel, who promoted youth coach and former player Dale Tonge in the absence of Winkler, has transformed the club’s form in front of their own supporters.
The Reds have dropped just 10 points from 14 matches, although Stendel is keeping a lid on expectations with the season approaching its final third.
“When you have big goals, you need the points from your home games,” he added.
“We have a good relationship with our supporters and we needed them to help turn it around.
“At the moment I’m happy but there are still 18 games left.”
Barnsley: Davies, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Williams; Brown, Mowatt, McGeehan, Thiam (Dougall 46); Woodrow (Adeboyejo 90), Moore (Green 78). Unused substitutes: Greatorex, Hedges, Jackson, Pinillos
Rochdale: Lillis, McLaughlin (Matheson 76), McNulty, Delaney, Ebanks-Landell, Dooley, Andrew (Inman 82), Camps (Wilbraham 81), Holden, Hamilton, Henderson. Unused substitutes: Norman, MJ Williams, J Williams, Adshead
Referee: A Young (Cambs).