Barnsley 0 Aston Villa 3: Villa spoil Reds' 130th birthday party
Barnsley will have learned plenty of lessons after Aston Villa spoiled the club's 130th anniversary celebrations by winning 3-0 at Oakwell.
Reds legends were out in force as the crowds packed into the stadium and thousands more watched live on television.
But Villa bagged their biggest away win in two years as Albert Adomah (2), and Kienan Davis did the business for Steve Bruce’s rapidly improving side.
Weighing up his side’s humbling, Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom said: “Some games make you happy, some games puzzle you, and some make you angry.
“Sometimes you feel satisfied and rewarded, but that game was easy to sum up - though we did lots of things well, we conceded poor goals and didn’t really look a goal threat ourselves.
“Villa defended well and took their goals well.
“To go behind against them was difficult, but once we were two down we knew the third goal would be everything.
“They got it, and now I’m saying players have to compete, they have to be strong.
“We didn’t take any points from the game, but there’s lots of things we can learn from it. There’s always lots of things we can go away and speak about.
Villa were gifted their opening goal after 19 minutes.
Normally reliable ‘keeper Adam Davies fluffed his attempt at controlling James Chester’s hopeful punt forward, allowing Adomah to nip in and tap home into an empty net.
Seconds before the interval it was 2-0 when Adam Jackson clumsily fouled youngster Davis in the box, and Adomah netted from the penalty spot.
With ex-Reds Conor Hourihane pulling the strings in midfield, Villa wrapped up victory when Davis rammed home clinically.
Sub Ike Ugbo fluffed the Reds’ best chance of a late consolation goal.
Villa boss Steve Bruce said: “We have been threatening that for a while.
“We took our chances and that’s three clean sheets in a row now.”
gearing up for Spurs
Paul Heckingbottom is playing it cool ahead of the eagerly-anticipated return to Wembley tomorrow.
Barnsley will head south for a Carabao Cup tie against hosts and Premier League giants Tottenham.
It may be a daunting task for some players, but Heckingbottom appears to be ready for it despite Saturday’s home Championship mauling by Aston Villa.
“It’s going to be different, but for me it’s just an away game that we’re going to try and win,” said Heckingbottom.
“For the players it’s a bit different because it’s Wembley, but it’s not like we’re going back there for a cup final again.
“The pressure will be off us and on Tottenham, and although the lads will enjoy it, we’re just going there to try and win.”
Reds must bounce back
The Reds were clearly second best against Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa on Saturday, but now they must lift themselves swiftly for tomorrow night’s highly-anticipated trip back to Wembley Stadium.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men - and their fans - will surely lap up their midweek return to the national stadium, though this time it’s merely a place in the Carabao Cup fourth round that’s at stake against hosts Tottenham, and not a trophy or a dream promotion.
Although the Reds were there only last year when they won the Johnstone’s Paint trophy and then secured promotion back to the Championship, there aren’t too many opportunities to play or spectate at such a special venue as Wembley.
That’s why the Reds must quickly turn the weekend’s frustrations into trying to stun the mighty Spurs now.
Barnsley are capable of shocking Spurs - particularly so if they field a ‘second string’ side - so Heckingbottom and his players ought to head south with plenty of belief.