Reds 2 (Dagnall 56, Scotland 67)
Second-half strikes from Chris Dagnall and debutant Jason Scotland sealed a well-deserved win for the Reds as David Flitcroft celebrated his first match at Oakwell as full-time Reds boss.
Dagnall’s gorgeous finish on 56 minutes lifted the roof but Jason Scotland introduced himself with a bang as he thundered home a debut goal after being on the pitch for barely three minutes.
There was a slight change in the Reds' squad as Reuben Noble-Lazarus picked up a knock in the warm-up and so was replaced by Matt Done on the bench.
The Reds started the brighter of the two sides and had the first chance of the match on seven minutes. Chris Dagnall played a neat one-two with Harewood on the edge of the box but didn’t connect properly with his strike that drifted wide.
Keogh replied for the visitors on 12 minutes after a wicked right-wing cross evaded the head of Foster, but the striker couldn’t cushion his volley under the crossbar.
Tom Kennedy tried his luck from distance after reading the play well, he picked up on a loose pass down the left-hand channel before letting fly from 25 yards but struck a vicious shot that was always rising over the bar. Not long after John Stones had a decent chance from 15 yards after an out-swinging corner from the right fell kindly into his path but Beevers got a great block in to deny him a goal.
A great counter-attack created and finished by Kelvin Etuhu almost gave the Reds a 24th-minute lead, but after his bursting 40-yard run he swept an effort wide of the right-hand post of Forde.
Millwall couldn’t cope with the Reds and their quick tempo, with Dagnall, Stones, Harewood and Perkins all showing flashes of brilliance as Flitcroft’s men attacked with great flair.
David Forde came to his side’s rescue as Etuhu set Dagnall away down the centre, but the ‘keeper had read the pass well and raced out to clear the pass on 39 minutes.
An O’Brien corner saw Stephen Foster rise highest to loop a header at goal but Trotter got in the way before clearing the danger. Not long after Trotter volleyed straight at Steele from 30 yards but it was simple enough for the Reds ‘keeper to gather.
One minute of stoppage time was indicated but neither side could find an opener.
It was very much a case of ‘as you were’ for Barnsley as they piled on the pressure. O’Brien was lively going forward and forced Forde into two saves with a cross then a low shot. Forde then fumbled a corner into the path of Harewood but Beevers cleared before the striker could pounce. The home fans responded in song – appreciative of their side’s effort.
Foster took a nasty knock in the 48th minute but after some treatment from the physios, Craig Sedgwick and Ian Farmery, the defender recovered and returned to the field.
Dagnall worked a miracle to win the ball back for his side before taking off on a steaming run down the centre, after winning the ball back for a second time, he clipped the outside of the post from a tight angle and under pressure.
The roof came off Oakwell 56 minutes, and who else would you expect to have found the opener than Chris Dagnall? It was a sumptuous finish over Forde from 12 yards after being slipped in down the centre. It was no less than Barnsley deserved after completely out-playing and out-passing the visitors.
With Kenny Jackett’s side being outplayed, it was no wonder he made a triple substitution on 64 minutes, with Woolford, Hulse and Lowry coming on for the Lions on 64 minutes. A minute later a standing ovation was fully deserved for Marlon Harewood as he was replaced by the debutant Jason Scotland – and wow. Only two minutes later and Scotland raced onto a perfect Perkins pass and absolutely hammered a shot home from 12 yards. It was a magnificent site as the striker reeled away in celebration with the home faithful. The scenes on the bench were, too, jubilant.
The Reds were hungry for more and were tearing into the Lions’ defence; Golbourne and Dagnall working magic down the left and Perkins dictating midfield alongside an impressive Etuhu.
Jacob Mellis replaced O’Brien on 74 minutes and Millwall had their only chance of the second half so far not long after although Steele was alert to thwart Woolford. Chris Dagnall became the third Red to receive a standing ovation as he was substituted. On came youngster Danny Rose – looking for his third goal of the season.
After Mellis was scythed down 25 yards out following a marauding run, he stepped up to whip the free-kick just over the top on 86 minutes. The Reds wanted a third and if Scotland could have connected better with his left-footed strike they could well have found it. Mellis, Rose and Stones exchanged neat, one-touch passes before releasing the debutant Scotland but his shot was easy enough for Forde to gather.
Barnsley were more than comfortable seeing the game out and were thoroughly deserving of their three points and clean sheet.
Reds: Steele, Golbourne, Kennedy, Foster, Cranie, Stones, Perkins, O'Brien (Mellis 74), Etuhu, Harewood (Scotland 65), Dagnall (Rose 82).
Subs: Alnwick, Hassell, Wiseman, Done.
Millwall: Forde, Shittu, Trotter, Henry, Feeney (Woolford 64), Beevers, Keogh (Hulse 64), Smith, Abdou, Osborne (Lowry 64), Marquis.
Subs: Taylor, Wright, Batt, Smith.
Referee: Nigel Miller
Assistant Referees: Billy Khatib & Steven Meredith
Fourth Official: Nick Gibbons