Why an FA Cup run could be exactly what Barnsley need to breathe life into their relegation battle following 3-1 victory at Crewe Alexandra

Jacob Brown scored Barnsley's opener. PIC: George Wood/Getty Images.
Jacob Brown scored Barnsley's opener. PIC: George Wood/Getty Images.
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Barnsley are in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2013 and it could be exactly the boost they need in their fight to avoid relegation.

It is only the second time that the Tykes have got past the third round since 2008 as they secured their place in the fourth-round draw with a 3-1 victory at Crewe Alexandra.

Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber.

Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber.

The Reds last win at this stage of the competition came seven years ago when they beat Burnley at Oakwell before being knocked out in the last eight by Manchester City.

Barnsley were locked in a Championship relegation battle in the same season with the momentum gained from their cup run helping them overturn a seven-point deficit in the league to climb out of the relegation zone and secure survival on the final day of the campaign.

The 1122 Reds fans who travelled to Crewe will hope this Barnsley side can produce similar heroics, as attention now turns to a crunch league clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Jacob Brown and Conor Chaplin scored the all-important goals for the visitors, finding the net either side of Paul Green's 48th-minute equaliser.

Luke Thomas added a late third after Will Jaaskelainen had come up for a late free-kick, allowing the midfielder to race clear and slot into an empty net.

Reds chief Gerhard Struber showed this is a competition he wants to take seriously as he made only four changes from the side that lost 2-1 at Derby County on Thursday night.

Elliot Simoes was handed his first Barnsley start, after scoring at Pride Park, Kenny Dougall and Brown also came back into the side while goalkeeper Sami Radlinger made way for Brad Collins.

Meanwhile, Alexandra's wait to get past the third round will extend into an 18th season, with their last third round success coming in 2002.

The visitors were ahead after just three minutes when Brown found the far corner of the net with a delightful volley from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

It was almost 2-0 soon after when Alex Mowatt lashed an effort towards the top corner but Jaaskelainen - son of former Premier League goalkeeper Jussi - tipped the ball over for a corner kick.

Daniel Powell could have had Crewe back in at the other end as he flicked the ball over Mads Andersen before firing into the side netting.

He was guilty of a terrible miss just after the half hour when the hosts broke with two Reds players down injured, Tom Lowery found Powell at the back post with a great pass but the number seven flashed it wide from six yards out.

After a dominant start from Barnsley, Alexandra had taken the initiative. They were finding plenty of joy down the right flank but were unable to find the key to unlock the Tykes defence.

But the hosts got the goal that their efforts warranted when Green nodded the ball past Collins three minutes into the second half.

The setback jolted Barnsley back into life and they almost regained the advantage when Clarke Oduor's curling free-kick struck the crossbar.

Crewe had pressed the visitors energetically before the equaliser but failed to maintain the same energy after levelling, allowing the Reds much more time in possession.

The Tykes regained the lead when Bambo Diaby headed Mowatt's cross into the path of Chaplin whose stooping header trickled into the far corner with 15 minutes remaining.

Thomas sealed the victory with the last action of the game when a free-kick, which Jaaskelainen raced up field for, was cleared before Dougall pumped the ball forward and Thomas's pace saw him latch onto the ball and tap home.

Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen; Ng, Wintle, Hunt, Pickering; Green, Lowery; Ainley (Finney 82), Kirk (Dale 76), Powell; Anene. Unused substitutes: Richards, Jones, Johnson, Adebisi, Mbulu.

Barnsley: Collins; Williams, Diaby, Andersen, Oduor (Williams 78); Dougall; Mowatt, Thomas; Simoes (Schmidt 72); Chaplin, Brown. Unused substitutes: Radlinger, Bahre, Styles, Sibbick, Halme.

Referee: James Linnington (Newport).