Valerien Ismael praises ‘forceful’ Barnsley after edging out struggling derby rivals Rotherham United

Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael hailed a positive finish to the year for his team after they overcame Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United 2-1.

OPENER: Cauley Woodrow celebrates the opening goal for Barnsley against Rotherham. Picture: Steve Riding.

The Reds took an early two-goal lead through Cauley Woodrow and Alex Mowatt, but found themselves under pressure after the break as the Millers fought back to halve the deficit through Michael Smith.

The hosts had other chances later on in the game to level, but ultimately came up short, much to Ismael’s delight.

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“You see the quality from Rotherham in the second half,” said Ismael. “They believe in the principle and that is why it is never an easy game against them.

HAPPY DAYS: Barnsley head coach, Valerien Ismael. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“The boys did the job perfectly in the first half. The second half was more of a fight.

“I think we played forceful in the first half and we deserved to score two goals and take the lead. In the second half it was a completely different game and we missed the possibility to score the third goal with Victor.

“We have a positive finish for 2020 but we know now that we face a tough January. We have to stay focussed and take games one-by-one.”

Barnsley scored two well-worked goals in the first 15 minutes to put themselves in a commanding position. First, Woodrow got on the end of a precise ball from Mowatt and finished neatly past Viktor Johansson.

Woodrow then started the second move himself with a pass out to Callum Styles who squared for Mowatt to power in a curling effort from the edge of the box.

It put Barnsley in control but Rotherham fought back in the second half with an effective direct approach.

Former Reds loanee Smith was brought on by Paul Warne for the second half and he halved the deficit after rising highest from Dan Barlaser’s corner.

Freddie Ladapo spurned a big chance to level up the scores when he dragged wide and Victor Adeboyejo also fired off target. Barnsley hung on to claim a fourth win from five and further strengthen an unlikely play-off bid.

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