BARNSLEY 2 (Shackell 28, Hammill 90)
CAPTAIN Marvel Jason Shackell and Adam Hammill grabbed the all important goals but it was an outstanding team display that earned another fine Oakwell win for an in-form Barnsley.
Reds boss Mark Robins had the rare luxury of naming an unchanged side again for the visit of promotion favourites Middlesbrough as he looked to stretch Barnsley's good early season form to three matches without defeat. After picking up four points from the last two games, confidence at Oakwell was high heading into the game and the buzz around the place was further lifted by the sight of summer signing Jim O'Brien on the subs bench following a troublesome thigh problem. Injured trio Luke Potter (knee), Jamil Adam (thigh) and Liam Dickinson (ankle) were the Reds' only absentees.
Barnsley started well and looked up for the challenge from the opening exchanges. The Reds were bright and purposeful from the off with Adam Hammill firing the first shot in anger on eight minutes after shrugging off Scott McDonald 30 yards from goal. His effort flew well wide of Jason Steele's goal.
The Reds had Boro scrambling on 12 minutes as Andy Gray and Goran Lovre combined brilliantly to free Kieran Trippier but the on loan man flashed a shot over the bar from a tight angle. It was a great move through the heart of the Middlesbrough defence.
The visitors were inches away from grabbing the lead just a minute later after Barry Robson ran into the back of Diego Arismendi to earn a cheap free kick 35 yards from goal. Robson took the kick himself and his dangerous ball caught out the Reds defence and McDonald beat Steele but saw his header come back off the post.
Tarmo Kink then almost capped a fine Boro passing move with a goal on 17 minutes but his effort from 30 yards fizzed with of Luke Steele's post.
Barnsley recovered their composure and Trippier was inches away from getting another effort on goal three minutes later as he stretched to meet Jay McEveley's cross but the ball skipped off the turf and out of play. Hammill brought a save from Jason Steele on 22 minutes with a low effort from the edge of the box after a poor clearance had dropped invitingly for the winger.
Luke Steele showed his class on 25 minutes with a fine, strong handed save to turn Kris Boyd's goalbound shot around the post. The Reds keeper was then alert enough to get his hands to Robson's corner.
Barnsley's opening goal came on 27 minutes and it was straight off the Oakwell training ground as Trippier's deep corner found Jason Shackell beyond the back post and the Reds skipper planted an outstanding header past Jason Steele and into the net.
Hammill's marauding runs inside were giving Boro all sorts of problems and the winger clipped one just over the bar on 29 after finding a yard of space. It really should have been two just seconds later as Gray flicked the ball on to send Lovre clean through but the midfielder was denied by Jason Steele's wonderful save.
Boro were shaken although Kink tried to restore parity on 32 minutes but he was denied by Stephen Foster's courageous block. Luke Steele kept his side in front on 34 minutes as he raced from his goal to produce a world class stop and deny Boyd, who had broken away onto Bailey's through ball.
Boyd was proving to be a big threat for Boro and the big striker did well with his back to goal on 40 minutes as he fashioned an opening but again the Reds had men back to block his effort away.
Barnsley should have put the gloss on a great first half on 44 minutes as Gray fed Lovre and the Serb picked out a fine cross to give Hugo Colace a chance but the midfielder nodded over from eight yards. At the other end Kink blazed his over the bar as Boro broke quickly in stoppage time.
Barnsley started the second half quickly but were almost caught out by a lightening Boro break on 47 minutes as Robson's put forward caught out Shackell and Foster but Boyd was unable to capitalise and the pass skipped through to Luke Steele. Hammill then brought a save from Jason Steele on 51 minutes as the Reds broke quickly down the left.
Hammill really should have made it two on 53 minutes as he found himself with the whole goal to aim at after great play by Lovre but the winger fluffed his lines and shot wide of the target. It was an end to end contest and Boro were in again seconds later when Bailey picked out Boyd but the striker slashed his effort woefully wide.
Barnsley were forced into a reshuffle just before the hour mark when Shackell's earlier collision with Foster ultimately ended his game early. O'Brien was called to make his Reds debut meaning Trippier filled in at full back and Hassell moved into the centre.
The change almost caught out Barnsley on 60 minutes when Kink found space to shoot but again Luke Steele was in fine, fine form. Barnsley's number one then pulled off one of the saves of the season to turn away Kink's dipping, swerving shot after appearing to be wrong-footed by the movement of the ball in the air.
The referee almost cost the Reds on 65 minutes as he allowed Kink to rejoin play following treatment just in time to cut out Luke Steele's pass to Jay McEveley. It was a very debateable decision and almost cost the Reds full back a yellow card. Referee Keith Hill then harshly penalised Foster on the edge of the box seconds later for a nothing challenge on McDonald, who hit the ground easily. Steele again had to be at his best to turn Robson's free kick around the post.
Another penalty decision went against the Reds on 71 minutes as the ball bounced around in the area after Foster had met Trippier's corner. Boyd clearly handled it before clearing but - once again - Barnsley did not get the decision. Hammill again should have put the game to bed seconds later as he raced onto Diego Arismendi's fine reverse pass and in on goal but was denied by Jason Steele.
Hammill was singlehandedly trying to put the game to bed in a one-man crusade against the Boro defence. The winger again had the visitors at sixes and sevens on 78 minutes when he cut in and smacked one but the ball skipped off Matthew Bates and flew over the top.
Another injury concern rocked the Reds charge on 79 minutes as Arismendi limped out of the action. The midfielder was replaced by Nathan Doyle.
Middlesbrough broke well on 82 minutes and substitute Andy Halliday crashed a shot against team mate Boyd and just wide of the mark although a linesman's flag meant the goal would not have counted. Doyle's first real action of the game was to pick up a yellow card on 83 minutes following a crunching late challenge on Bailey.
There was still time for Wheater to pick up a yellow card in stoppage time after pulling back Gray. Barnsley suffered more injury woe seconds later as Trippier limped out of the action with a hamstring problem. Jacob Butterfield was thrown in for the final seconds.
Hammill grabbed the goal his outstanding afternoon had deserved with the final kicks of the game as he producing a dazzling display of wing play to race 40 yards with the ball and kept his composure to beat Jason Steele with defenders trailing in his wake.
BARNSLEY: Steele, Hassell, Foster, Shackell (O'Brien 59), McEveley, Trippier, Colace, Arismendi (Doyle 79), Hammill, Lovre, Gray.
Subs: Preece, Hume, Neumann, Butterfield, Devaney.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Steele, Bates, Robson, Wheater, McManus, Kilgallon (Williams 81), Arca, Bailey, Kink (Halliday 67), McDonald, Boyd.
Subs: Coyne, Lita, Miller, Hoyte, Smallwood.
Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)
Peter Bankes (Merseyside) and Paul Marsden (Lancashire)
Paul Graham (Manchester)
Attendance - 11,767
Away - 1,522
House of Fraser Man Of The Match - Jason Shackell
Match Report by Rob Knowles - live from Oakwell Stadium.
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