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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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16 August 2022 Venue Oakwell Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

REDS EMPHATIC IN GAS VICTORY

16 August 2022

Barnsley returned to winning ways in Sky Bet League One after a comfortable night's work at a rain-soaked Oakwell under the lights.

First half goals from Devante Cole and Jordan Williams gave us a commanding lead before a sensational Josh Benson strike sealed the deal on Tuesday night.

Unlike previous fixtures where the Reds have started sluggishly, with improved showings later on, on this occasion Michael Duff's side came out of the traps in fine fashion, dominating the opening half-hour and could well have scored more than the two goals registered. 

After just three minutes played, Devante Cole opened his account for the 22/23 season when, having run onto Callum Styles' through-ball, he lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper from close range. 

That lead was nearly doubled just a couple of minutes later as Cole this time flicked the ball on via his head for Jack Aitchison to latch onto, but the Scotsman saw his effort from the edge of the box screw wide under pressure.

Our visitors were under the cosh in the opening exchanges, but Harry Anderson did drag a fairly decent opportunity well wide after a rare foray into Reds' territory. 

But within two minutes of that, and after Gas 'keeper James Belshaw had denied Cole with his feet seconds earlier, Barnsley did go two goals ahead when Jordan Williams tried his luck from all of 35 yards and saw his well-hit effort take a fortunate nick off a defender which completely wrong-footed Belshaw for goal number two. 

Midfielder Luca Connell was denied soon afterwards with the Rovers' stopper proving to be a one-man army defensively, as just before the half-hour mark he parried away a thumping drive from Styles. 

Joey Barton's men tried to fight their way back into the contest, seeing a number of bookings for dubious challenges on Reds players, and that attitude seemed to spur the visitors on as they ended the half on top, but without really troubling the Barnsley backline. 

HALF-TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Bristol Rovers

The second half didn't start in as frenetic a fashion as the first, but 10 minutes into it we saw the goal of the night, from the outstanding Josh Benson. 

A high ball dropped towards the midfielder, some 25 yards from goal; he controlled it before unleashing an unstoppable drive with his right boot, with the ball arrowing into the bottom corner, sending the Reds faithful into raptures. 

It may well have become 4-0 a few minutes later but the always-lively and energetic Luke Thomas couldn't quite find his feet in attempting to round the goalie. 

There wasn't the action that we saw in the opening 45, and the 'spell' you'd normally expect from the opposition never really materialised either, as the Reds saw out the second half comfortably, with the likes of Benson, Styles and Cole pulling out the odd trick and substitute James Norwood adding to the proceedings, forcing the visitors back in the final 10 minutes on a rain-sodden Oakwell. 

The clean sheet picked up - back-to-back on home soil - was as pleasing as the three goals on a difficult night in terms of the conitions. None of the backline will get the plaudits but can be happy with their contribution to what was an excellent team display and a second league victory of the campaign.

FULL-TIME: Barnsley 3-0 Bristol Rovers

Collins, Williams (McCarthy), Andersen, Cundy, Kitching, Styles, Connell, Benson, Thomas (Wolfe), Aitchison (Norwood), Cole (Marsh).

Unused: Walton, Oduor, Hondermarck.

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