After an impressive unbeaten run to match any top team, the Reds finally capitulated on Saturday in front of the Sky cameras after a long ride to Portsmouth saw David Norris and Luke Varney fire home only 90 seconds after one another to end the Reds' 7 game unbeaten triumph. There was no time for sulking however, as with a gap of only 3 days it was the turn of Burnley to visit Oakwell, where the Reds were looking to string together a run of impressive performances following the convincing win over Coventry City prior to the international break.
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Eddie Howe named a former Oakwell favourite in his starting line-up, with former Manchester City loanee Kieran Trippier making his return to Barnsley little over 4 months after the expiration of his loan deal, which saw impressive performances at both Right Back and on the wing, in addition to key goals against Leeds United at Elland Road as well as against Doncaster at home. In addition to the appearance of Trippier, with former loanee (this time from Burnley themselves) Jay Rodriguez supporting Charlie Austin in attack alongside former West Ham youngster Junior Stanislas.
The game began in an end to end manner, with Barnsley and the Clarets trying to get a feel for each other, largely down to the fact that both managers have in fact never faced the opposition team previously. It was the visitors however who were to provide the first action within 4 minutes, as Kieran Trippier made a fleeting run from the defence to take a shot causing Steele to go down to attempt to make a save, Stephen Foster getting the block in. The Reds were then at panic stations somewhat, as Steele had not regained his stance when Ross Wallace pounced on the rebound, Rob Edwards this time providing the heroics on the goal line.
It was again end to end football for the foreseeable future, with Trippier continuing to make attacking runs all too familiar to the Oakwell faithful in order to try swing a cross in to Charlie Austin in attack. Trippier was to be quickly silenced however, as instructions from the bench saw Craig Davies and Jim O'Brien switch wings with O'Brien given the task of diluting the danger provided by the former loanee. Following the switch, not only did O'Brien provided the silencer on Trippier, but he continued to make threatening runs into the opposition half, with only the final ball lacking on several occasions. O'Brien was to get a reward for his efforts soon however, when a 21st minute cross found the head of Craig Davies, who nodded down for skipper Jacob Butterfield, who couldn't miss. 1-0 Barnsley. The remainder of the half saw Barnsley gain more confidence and grow into the game further, with only free-kicks and the occasional corner providing any attacking options for Burnley.
The second half saw the visitors come out firing on all cylinders, with Brian Easton and Andre Amougou (formerly known as Andre Bikey) making runs out from the defence in lieu of the man marked Trippier. Junior Stanislas and Charlie Austin provided tests to Steele, although the Burnley attacks were quickly to be silenced, when a change in formation saw Craig Davies join Andy Gray upfront, with Jacob Butterfield and Jim O'Brien tasked with containing the Burnley attacking full backs out on the wings. This allowed the Reds to regain footing in the game, with the Reds nearly doubling their lead on 55 minutes when Craig Davies was found one-on-one with Lee Grant, only for him to shout wide of the post to the surprise of the crowd. Davies created another chance for himself shortly after, when he outmuscled the towering presence of Andre Amougou to gain possession just outside the box, however his balance and starting position again caused him to shoot wide.
With just over quarter of an hour left, Hill opted to bring on Ricardo Vaz Te for the tiring Davies, who had made his first start following a two month layoff. Vaz Te was given the chance to redeem himself for a poor performance at Portsmouth which saw him replaced at half time, and he certainly didn't disappoint 5 minutes into his appearance when Andy Gray hit the perfect pass into the box. Vaz Te needed no second invitation and fired the Reds' second with a first time shot. 2-0.
The goal gave Vaz Te an apparent new lease of life and the Portuguese forward threw everything at his performance with impressive attacking and defensive runs. Burnley were to take his frustrations out on the scorer however, when Amougou conceded the foul on him after a rough challenge, only for another Burnley man to appear to stamp on his head. It was the last action of note however, as the Burnley attacks began to fizzle out. To be fair to Burnley they had chances and good passing sequences, however might have had more possession than the Reds would have liked, if it were not from some uncharacteristically sloppy passes in the midfield. 2-0 the final score.
Man of the match - Jim O'Brien - Not only did he contain the impressive former Oakwell starlet in Kieran Trippier, but he continued to run and fight for the cause whilst carving out chances for his teammates. A top performance and a man of the match award to boot which was much deserved due to his continued graft
Teams and ratings -
Barnsley - Steele (7), Wiseman (6), Foster (7), Edwards (6), McNulty (7), Doyle (6), Drinkwater (7), Butterfield (c) (8), O'Brien (9), Davies (6), Gray (6)
Subs: Vaz Te for Davies (7)
Burnley - Grant (6), Trippier (8), Edgar (6), Bikey/Amougou (7), Easton (6), McCann (6), Wallace (6), Bartley (5), Rodriguez (6), Stanislas (6), Austin (6)
Subs: Treacy for Stanislas (6), Hines for Wallace (n/a)