A dejected Keith Hill painted a very grim picture of Barnsley F.C. on Friday, noting that injuries and a spate of poor results had brought the club to their collective knees, “we are down to the bare bones”, the manager explained. It wouldn't have been unfair to say that Hill wasn't expecting to acquire many points from the club's upcoming fixtures.

It wasn't looking great on the championship betting odds. However, Hill's comments, which were published in the Star newspaper, and came just a few hours before Barnsley tackled Reading in the Championship, were perhaps a little too pessimistic. The Tykes squashed the home side 2-1 to record their first win of the 2011/12 season, thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper, Luke Steele.

Steele, who joined Barnsley following a successful loan spell in 2008, saved two (of three) penalties to spare the northerners their fourth consecutive loss of the season, and to help maintain the club's unbeaten record away from home. “I’m a bit disappointed Luke didn’t keep a clean sheet to be honest”, Hill joked, before commending the goalkeeper on a “great performance”. The result means that a prediction made by Hill, on Friday, was ultimately proven true.

Hill intimated that getting away from Oakwell might be the panacea to the club's lack of success in the league. “There’s a little bit too much pressure coming to the players from the [Oakwell] terraces”, the coach said. The side's results to date seem to confirm Hill's suspicions; Barnsley have yet to win a game at home. Reading's capitulation at the Madejski Stadium also handed the Tykes their first goals of the season – or at least, the first goals scored by a Barnsley player.

Middlesbrough’s Stephen McManus was Barnsley's top scorer prior to Saturday's match, after sinking an own-goal in last Tuesday's fixture at Oakwell. However the win gives Barnsley hope that they will not be looking at their names in the league one betting odds next season. Barnsley have an opportunity to extend their winning streak to two games, on Saturday, when they play Millwall, at the Den.
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Nick Walsh

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