TOWERING striker Kieffer Moore is keeping under wraps his scoring target for the season.
His 10th goal of the campaign was probably the simplest as it put the seal on a win which took Barnsley up to third.
It came in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Brad Potts drove in from the left and struck a fierce shot which goalkeeper Connor Ripley could only parry into the air and behind him, leaving Moore with a tap-in in front of almost 2,400 Barnsley fans packed into the open end.
It was just reward for not only a strong-running display up front but also some sterling work in defence at set-plays which prevented Stanley from turning their pressure into goals.
Moore had also set up Barnsley’s 36th-minute opener with a delightful back-heel into the path of Cauley Woodrow, who celebrated his first league start by tucking the ball into the net.
The Fulham loanee could not add to that tally as he was sacrificed when Zeki Fryers received his second yellow card in the 64th minute, Dani Pinillos coming on to take over at left-back.
Barnsley, under the cosh at times in the first half, showed their resolve after this setback and looked the more likely to score as they attacked on the break, Jacob Brown coming off the bench to add fresh impetus as Mamadou Thiam unsurprisingly ran out of steam after some fine forays down the left.
This was also Barnsley’s third successive clean sheet in the league and that was down in no small measure to emergency loan goalkeeper Jordan Smith, who had only trained with the club on Friday.
He was parachuted in from Nottingham Forest when second-choice Jack Walton was ruled out by a posterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win over Bradford City and with regular No 1 Adam Davies on international duty with Wales.
Smith produced stunning saves from Barnsley product Jordan Clark and Sean McConville in the early stages and did well to palm from under his bar a deflected cross from the latter after the break.
It is a massive result for us. I thought we grew into the game as it went on. We got on the ball a bit better and, obviously, the goal was a brilliant bit of play with the way we carved them openBarnsley’s Kieffer Moore
Davies will be back for Saturday’s visit of Doncaster Rovers but the club could examine the possibility of signing Smith for another week at least with Walton out until early next year.
Head coach Daniel Stendel revealed that Smith’s performance had resulted in a round of applause from his colleagues in the dressing room afterwards and Moore said of his new team-mate: “He was outstanding. It is never easy to come into a game where you don’t know anyone so for him to come in and put in that performance and keep a clean sheet is brilliant. He can hold his head high.”
Moore knew the importance of this win against a side with play-off aspirations and of coping with the fervent atmosphere in front of a ground record 4,801 attendance.
“It is a massive result for us. I thought we grew into the game as it went on. We got on the ball a bit better and, obviously, the goal was a brilliant bit of play with the way we carved them open and then Cauley slotted it home lovely.
“We need to do that a bit more often – get on the ball and show our composure. Me and Cauley have been working on that (his back-heel for the goal) in training and we have started becoming a really good partnership so, hopefully, we will see more of that.”
Of his own strike, Moore, who netted 17 times last season, including four for Barnsley after a successful loan spell at Rotherham from Ipswich, continued: “I am pleased but I am not satisfied. I want to keep going and show what I can do and give it my all. You have to set high expectations for yourself. If you get satisfied, you get complacent. We don’t want anyone in this team to become complacent. Everyone is fighting for their place and you need to put in great performances to stay in this team.
“I do set myself targets but I am not going to say what they are other than that I am a very ambitious person.”
Despite this fine victory which keeps the pressure on top two Portsmouth and Sunderland, Stendel was unhappy with Barnsley’s first-half display, though delighted by the way they overcame the sending off – “It was not the best decision but it was good that we showed we could cope with a difficult situation.”
Moore agreed and continued: “You couldn’t tell that we were a man down but that is down to the way we play. We always want to be on the front foot.
“It was unlucky for Zeki on his first league game back because he had put in a great performance. We worked hard for each other and it showed. I can’t thank the fans enough, too, because they were our 11th man when we did go down to 10. They were brilliant.
“We knew what to expect from Stanley and knew we had to ride the storm. They have some very good players and if you do switch off for just one second they will pop it round you and be in on goal.
“There is always more to come and every week we are all trying to improve. We are growing as a unit, staff included. It is a great atmosphere to be involved in.
Accrington Stanley: Ripley, Johnson (Hall 77), Hughes, Ihiekwe, Anderton; Clark, Barlaser (Brown 79), Finley, McConville; Zanzala, Kee. Unused substitutes: Maxted, Richards-Everton, Sykes, Mingoia, Conneely.
Barnsley: Smith, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Fryers; McGeehan, Mowatt (Bahre 90); Potts, Woodrow (Pinillos 67), Thiam (Brown 72); Moore. Unused substitutes: Greatorex, Hedges, Moncur, Williams.
Referee: J Busby (Oxford).