Barnsley 2 Gillingham 0: Reds outclass 3rd place Gills

Ben Pearson scores Barnsleys opener. 'Picture Dean Atkins
Ben Pearson scores Barnsleys opener. 'Picture Dean Atkins

A resolute performance from Barnsley saw them down Gillingham to take the spoils at Oakwell.

The Gills came into the match in third place in League One but they were outclassed by a commanding Barnsley outfit who took the early initiative through Ben Pearson’s goal.

Sam Winnall then added a second at the ideal time right before the interval, leaving the visitors with too much to do.

Despite Gillingham coming close twice early on through efforts from Luke Norris and Ben Williamson, the hosts netted a brilliant opener on 18 minutes.

A cross from the right was half cleared to Pearson who struck a sweet first-time effort from outside the box, which nestled right in the bottom corner.

A show of a great strength from Kadeem Harris saw him shrug Ryan Jackson off the ball shortly after. The left winger cut inside before unleashing one hell of a shot at Stuart Nelson, who managed to parry it around the post.

Barnsley then netted a well-timed second in first half stoppage time. Great work from Marley Watkins down the right allowed him to square to Winnall, and the lively striker picked his spot in the bottom corner.

It was almost 3-0 to the hosts in the 53 minute as a flowing move saw Winnall find Reece Wabara out wide. He squared into Watkins who was inches away from making contact – any touch would have been a certain goal.

The visitors pushed for a goal late on and came closest when Max Ehmer’s header struck the upright in the dying stages of the game.

Barnsley move up to eighth after the win.

Barnsley: Townsend 6, Wabara, Mawson, Nyatanga, G. Smith, Watkins, Pearson (M. Smith 74), Scowen, Hourihane, Harris (Crowley 72), Winnall (Roberts 90).

Subs not used: Davies, Bree, Jackson, Wilkinson.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Egan, Ehmer, Dickenson, Wright, Loft, Osadebe (Hessenthaler 65), Dack, Norris (Donnelly 62), Williamson (McDonald 62).

Subs not used: G. Morris, Garmston, Houghton, A. Morris.

Referee: Darren Deadman.

Attendance: 8,354.