There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned cup tie to get the new season underway, and Tykes fans travelling to Rochdale were in for a treat last weekend, with a 4-3 League Cup victory after extra time.

With no football since April, the Barnsley faithful have been forced to either watch England fail in Ukraine or an utterly dull Team GB crash out of the Olympics.

Our pre-season may have buffered the monotony of long summer evenings without a match to attend, but it is nothing compared to the return of competitive action.

And wasn’t the return competitive? Craig Davies’ shrugged off a defender before slotting home a low effort, handing the Tykes the lead after John Stones’ downward header levelled the scores.

Yet Barnsley never make life easy, and Ben Alnwick’s supposed head butt on Ray Putterill handed Rochdale a penalty in the final minute of the game.

From what was a comfortable opening-season win now turned into a scrap, and thankfully Chris Dagnall’s rescuing brace spared the blushes of Keith Hill.

But we should not be too downhearted with the manner of our cup win. Rochdale may have been relegated to League Two last season, but they are starting afresh as much as any team in the country. At home against a team of better quality, they were always going to put up a fight.

In winning the game in extra time, Hill’s squad has proven both its ability to eke out victories from tricky situations and its fitness levels ahead of an intense season to come.

Along with the fact that the Tykes are now in the second round of the newly-named Capital One Cup, the Oakwell faithful should be optimistic going into a fresh season.

On the theme of cup competitions, find out more info on Champions League on the Betfair website, or view the pick of the early odds ahead of the opening weekend in the Premier League.
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Nick Walsh

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