Goals from both starting strikers, one in each half were enough to see off a spirited Brentford side here at Griffin Park this afternoon as the Reds returned to winning ways after a superb performance.
Loanee striker Adam Armstrong struck just before the half-hour mark to give the Reds the lead after capitalizing on some hesitant home defending.
Last season’s top-scorer Sam Winnall grabbed his fourth of this campaign on 66 minutes when he slotted home from close-range for the second.
There was very little between the sides in the first half with clear chances at a premium. Romaine Swayers slashed wide from 25 yards out after five minutes of play. Winnall was found brilliantly by Marley Watkins’ cross, in oceans of space but as he headed at the keeper the offside flag was raised.
The Reds were seeing plenty of the ball on their right-hand side by this point and again Watkins’ cross was superb but Winnall’s shot on the turn was fired a foot or so wide of Daniel Bentley’s goal.
It was one-way traffic now with 20 minutes played, Ryan Kent this time trying his luck from the angle of the box on the left but his low and powerful drive was comfortably saved by Bentley.
Five minutes later and Sulley Kaikai brought James Bree down on half-way. The free-kick was swung in deliciously by Conor Hourihane, Watkins nodded down for Winnall once more but his shot drifted harmlessly wide and out of play.
Brentford finally got out of their own half when a counter-raid down the right-hand side saw Kaikai found eight yards out but his first-time shot spooned up and over the bar. It was a great chance for the Bees.
The Reds were to make them pay almost immediately. Another Hourihane free-kick was whipped in from deep, Watkins once again beat his man in the air, his header though was flicked away by John Egan in the box but only as far as ARMSTRONG who didn’t connect well with the shot but it somehow squirmed into the net to send the travelling Red Army into raptures. 1-0.
Just after the half-hour mark Sawyers was brilliantly tackled by Angus MacDonald as the home side looked to hit the Reds on the break.
A 30-yard drive by Ryan Woods went straight down the throat of Adam Davies, before Sawyers again put a long-range shot high and wide.
The home side were in the ascendance now and a ball over the top ran nicely for Scott Hogan but as he shaped to shoot inside the area, Davies was there to smother the ball and ease the pressure.
Just before the break, the referee James Linington booked Winnall for apparent dissent and then Hogan tangled with MacDonald off the ball, the referee booking both despite the Brentford man looking the most guilty party.
HALF-TIME:Brentford 0-1 Barnsley
Brentford made a change during the interval as Dean Smith replaced Sam Saunders and put on Josh Clarke.
But it was the Reds who came out of the second-half traps the better, with Hourihane, Winnall and Andy Yiadom linking fantastically in midfield before James Bree curled a 30-yard effort just wide of the far post.
Hogan was looking to get in behind the Reds rearguard throughout and Yiadom had to make a great covering slide-tackle to deny the former Reds trialist a run on goal.
On 52 minutes Kent jinked into space and fired straight into Bentley gloves from 20 yards out, before Watkins followed suit from just inside the box. It was end-to-end at this stage, the Reds looking the more likely to score of the two sides.
The game became a little scrappy for a good 10 minutes or so as Brentford decided to go more direct. But each ball arrowed into the area was seen off by the imperious MacDonald and his centre-half partner Adam Jackson.
On 63 minutes MacDonald went close to affecting the scoreline at the other end as he met Hourihane’s free-kick, but from 14 yards out he bulleted a header just over the Brentford crossbar.
The second goal soon arrived however…
A quite stunning run down the left by Kent, evading challenges he played a lovely one-two with Armstrong, entered the box at pace, fired a shot low which cannoned off the base of the inside of the post and fell kindly for WINNALL who had the simple task of slotting home from two yards out. Cue absolute bedlam in the away end as the travelling Reds supporters went wild, as did Winnall, it was 2-0 and there only looked one winner from there on in.
Soon after the restart, Hourihane won possession in midfield with a super tackle, strode forward and ignoring Watkins to his right he unleashed from 25 yards out but the strike flew just past Bentley’s left-hand post.
73 minutes in and Brentford responded at last with a rocket of a shot by Maxime Colin which skimmed the top of Davies’ bar. Soon after, Clarke found himself one-on-one with Davies’ after a superb ball by Woods, but Davies saved well to his left.
The Reds were seeing the game out with ease and after 84 minutes Paul Heckingbottom introduced Ryan Williams from the bench, he was given a great round of applause by the Reds fans behind the goal, first goal-scorer Armstrong going off. And then Adam Hammill replaced Ryan Kent, he too given a warm welcome by supporters.
With injury time approaching, Hammill went on a terrific 60-yard run but his cross from the byline just evaded the on-rushing Winnall.
Six minutes of added time was announced by the fourth official, and the Reds dealt with Brentford with ease in playing out time, even giving young Jacob Brown a sub appearance, he came on for second scorer Winnall.
Just before the finish, a fierce Hogan drive was tipped over spectacularly by Davies with one hand. He’d had a great game the Reds number one.
FULL-TIME: Brentford 0-2 Barnsley
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Bjelland, Egan, Barbet; Saunders (Clarke 45), Yennaris, Sawyers (McEachran 72), Woods, Kaikai (Hofmann); Hogan.
Subs: Bonham, Macleod, Dean, Kerschbaumer.
Barnsley: Davies; Bree, MacDonald, Jackson, Yiadom; Hourihane, Morsy, Kent (Hammill 84), Watkins; Winnall (Brown 94), Armstrong (Williams 84).
Subs: Townsend, Evans, Lee, Kpekawa.
Attendance: 10,417 (947 Reds)