Analysis: Reds wrestle survival destiny into their own hands – Barnsley 2 Brentford 0

Kieffer Moore was back on the scoresheet for Barnsley in a huge win for their survival hopes
Kieffer Moore was back on the scoresheet for Barnsley in a huge win for their survival hopes

Barnsley have their Championship destiny in their own hands.

This gutsy and determined display against a Brentford side who were still in with a shot of the play-offs was just what the Reds needed.

Reds star man: Oli McBurnie

Reds star man: Oli McBurnie

A goal in either half ensured Jose Morais’ team will take the fight to the final day.

A victory away at Derby County will now guarantee another season of Championship football.

The Reds faithful played their part too and provided vocal backing for their side.

There was a vociferous atmosphere inside Oakwell and it gave the home team the impetus at vital junctures.

After soaking up Brentford pressure inside the opening quarter of an hour, the hosts took a surprise lead.

Kieffer Moore galloped down the left flank and whipped in a ball that was deflected over Brentford’s Dan Bentley and went in off a post.

The lead was maintained thanks to a superb intervention tackle from Liam Lindsay before the break, keeping out Ollie Watkins with the striker bearing down on goal.

The Reds kept up the hunt after the restart and Oli McBurnie’s header from a corner was adjudged to have crossed the line.

That gave the hosts much-needed breathing space and despite Moore missing an absolute sitter and sliding a shot wide of Bentley’s upright, Barnsley held on for a crucial victory.


Speaking after the victory and the lap of appreciation on the Oakwell pitch following the final home game, head coach Morais looked a relieved man.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said the Portuguese, for whom this was only a third victory since arriving in South Yorkshire in February.

“The way we performed was something that I was expecting, but much more times than it in fact did happen here.

“We deserved more times than just the two times we won at home while I have been here.

“I am happy for the boys, happy for the club and happy for the fans because these players wanted to reward the fans with a win in our last game here.

“I know the quality they have.

“For some reason, in some moments, things just don’t come out.

“But I believed the seeds were there and one day they will come out - today was one of those days.

“And I believe there is still much more to come.”

Brentford chief Dean Smith was understandably upset given this result put paid to the Bees’ hopes for a top-six berth, but his assessment that the hosts’ opening goal was “spawny” was perhaps tongue-in-cheek.


Before kick-off the club gave out its annual player of the season awards.

A number of academy graduates were presented with gongs before McBurnie was named as the club’s overall Player of the Year.

A remarkable achievement given he has only played 15 games since arriving on loan from Swansea in January.

But you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has made a bigger impression this season.

The maverick striker, with his low socks and inimitable style, has become something of a cult hero with Barnsley fans even in such a short space of time.

Again he put in a solid performance and his goal gave the hosts a welcome two-goal buffer.

Just one more shift like this from McBurnie and his colleagues next Sunday at Pride Park and it will be job done.

After a tumultuous season with Paul Heckingbottom’s controversial exit to Leeds, a boardroom takeover and wretched run of form, the club are just one positive result away from ending on a high.