An FA Cup classic at Oakwell this afternoon as Barnsley made it into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the third year in a row, edging out a plucky Barrow side here at Oakwell, 5-4 after extra time.
Head Coach, Poya Asbaghi made six changes to a Reds side hampered by injury and positive COVID-19 cases. There were also places on the bench for the likes of Academy graduate Joe Ackroyd.
The Reds had the first chance of the game just a couple of minutes in as Callum Brittain - playing on the left of midfield - found himself with a yard of space and let fly from the edge of the box, but his effort was tipped over the bar by Bluebirds ‘keeper Paul Farman.
Barnsley continued to stretch the League Two side and it was not long until we were in behind again with a low cross on the left by a marauding Liam Kitching, just unable to find the boot of Devante Cole who stretched a toe out at the near post.
The Reds though, in charge of proceedings, took the lead just after 20 minutes when Callum Styles whipped in a deep free-kick and at the back post there was an unmarked Mads Andersen who looped a header into the top corner with Farman rooted.
Our visitors had an opportunity to get back level on the half-hour mark, but Anthony Glennon’s half-volley was fired wide of Jack Walton’s goal.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men when a reckless high tackle from forward Tom Beadling left Romal Palmer floored on halfway, bringing out a straight red card from referee Ross Joyce.
Asbaghi’s men doubled their lead just before half time when after a Styles cross wasn’t dealt with at the back post, Jordan Williams was on hand to loft the ball over Farman at the second attempt.
The impressive Brittain could have put the game to bed as we headed into first half injury time but on this occasion he couldn’t keep his shot down and the away side survived.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Barrow
This cup tie was far from over, however, as Barrow pulled one back on the hour-mark when an Ollie Banks free-kick from distance left Walton with no chance as it thundered into the top right corner. A strike reminiscent of the efforts once ‘banged’ in by his dad here at Oakwell back in the day.
With time ticking away, the visitors continued to throw bodies forward and it paid off as the Bluebirds got in behind Kitching and substitute Luke James found Glennon free in the box to slot it beyond Walton to level proceedings and signal jubilation in the away end.
With just 10 minutes left of the 90, the Reds restored their advantage with Devante Cole driving infield from the left and his wand of a right foot curled the ball home into the far corner from just outside the box. A thing of real beauty to edge Barnsley back ahead.
Debutant Rémy Vita could have made it four with five minutes left to play but his effort was just wide, and that set up another twist in this astonishing cup tie.
The visibly-tiring Barrow made it 3-3 with only three minutes on the clock as a cross from the right found an unmarked James Jones to power a header into the net.
But just a minute after that equaliser, the Reds went back up the other end and after more good link-up play between Styles, Brittain and Cole, sub Carlton Morris stroked home from just inside the box for 4-3.
Despite the odds stacked against them, the struggling fourth tier outfit came back yet again when ex-Reds midfielder Josh Kay made it 4-4 in the 90th minute as his shot from the edge of the box went in off the post.
There was even a last-minute penalty shout for the visitors as a Hutton cross hit Kitching on the arm but the referee waved it away, perhaps sparing Barnsley’s blushes.
FULL TIME: The Reds 4-4 Barrow
Into extra time, and Morris was nearly gifted a goal halfway through the first half, as a missed clearance from the keeper left the Reds striker an open goal, but the space was quickly closed and his shot was blocked.
Farman made up for his earlier mistake with a fingertip save to stop Styles from getting a fifth for the Reds, but Barnsley were ahead again for the fourth time in the game soon after.
Morris got his second of the game as a block from a previous shot fell kindly to him inside the box and he finished superbly, with real aplomb.
Young midfielder Ackroyd came on for his debut, with the Barnsley native playing the whole of the second half of extra time.
The 10 men of Barrow were not going down without a fight though, with sub Jamie Devitt firing wide, before Vita had another chance to get a debut Reds goal but as he found himself one-on-one with Farman, he took one too many touches and the ‘keeper smothered the ball.
Tiredness eventually caught up with the spirited away side, and Barnsley held out for victory and passage into the fourth round of this year’s Emirates FA Cup.
FULL-TIME (AET): Barnsley 5-4 Barrow
Walton, Williams, Moon (Hondermarck), Andersen (c), Kitching, Vita, Palmer (Ackroyd), Styles, Adeboyejo (Morris), Cole.
Unused: Collins, Sraha, D.Benson, Bremang