Reds at the Riverside
Middlesbrough 2 (Carayol 50, Main 62)
Reds 3 (O’Brien 6, Golbourne 69, Scotland 76)
The Reds came out on top at the end of a rollercoaster match which saw Flitcroft’s men take the lead twice as well as having to come from behind.
The Reds got underway against a Boro side who may be suffering from a loss of form, but are still a top-six side in the Championship and the hosts came out of the traps the quicker of the two sides and forced a corner early doors.
Barnsley’s first shot of the match saw them take the lead on six minutes but it was through a slice of good fortune, although that didn’t stop Jim O’Brien from celebrating with the wiggle. Tom Kennedy sprayed the ball over the top down the right for the winger as he advanced into the box and his shot deflected off Friend and over Jason Steele.
The Reds then enjoyed a decent spell of possession with Boro having to chase the contest.
A free-kick awarded to the home side was comfortably saved by Luke Steele down the middle as Ledesma sent his 25-yard effort towards goal. The former Walsall man had Boro’s next effort at goal as well but he curled wide.
At the other end on 16 minutes Marlon Harewood showed great strength before turning to hammer at goal but it was a routine stop for Jason Steele.
Chris Dagnall latched onto a piece of magic from Marlon Harewood down the left but the diminutive striker was denied the chance to shoot from a tight angle by a decent challenge from Williams.
The Middlesbrough fans were absolutely livid but it wasn’t their side’s fault Barnsley were closing them down well and Marlon Harewood reaped the rewards of Perkins’ hard work as he turned and volleyed a vicious 25-yard strike at goal but Jason Steele tipped it wide for a corner on 42.
Andrew Bikey took matters into his own hands on 44 minutes with a surging run into space down the middle, his effort was palmed into the path of Jutkiewicz but he cushioned wide.
Tony Mowbray made the first change of the match with Curtis Main replacing Lukas Jutkiewicz. There was a harsh booking for Stephen Foster early on in the second period, after winning the ball from Carayol.
Carayol then enjoyed his slice of luck as Steele palmed Foster’s clearance into his path and the home fans suddenly changed their tune on 50 minutes. It was probably the easiest goal of the winger’s career.
The Reds responded with Harewood going close from 20 yards after neat interchange play with Dagnall.
The match was swinging from end to end but Barnsley’s attitude was first class since conceding.
The hosts then took the lead on 62 minutes as Barnsley gave the freedom of the park to Rhys Williams as the defender sauntered forward under no pressure and an eventual shot was palmed into the path of Main who headed into an empty net from two yards.
Barnsley made two changed on 63 minutes, with Harewood and O’Brien being replaced by Chris O’Grady and Jason Scotland, respectively.
Dagnall wormed his way down the left on 65 minutes to deliver for Delap who arrived late at the far post but his header sailed over.
Barnsley’s weapon of loan man Rory Delap worked a treat as a long throw-in from the right and the ball acted as a pinball before eventually falling for Golbourne who lashed into the roof of the net from three yards with 21 left to play.
As Jason Steele slipped under pressure from O’Grady, the goalkeeper smothered the ball which was played back to him from his own man. Only a free-kick was awarded to Barnsley in the penalty area after being robbed of a certain goal by the ‘keeper.
Thankfully justice was done as Scotland thumped the lay-off into the net off the bar via a deflection. Fortunate? The Reds deserved it as O’Grady was robbed of a certain goal only moments before. Scotland had bagged his third goal in as many appearances from the bench.
Bobby Hassell replaced the incredible Chris Dagnall with 11 to play as Halliday and Zemmama came on for Ledesma and Dyer for Boro.
Flitcroft’s Tykes were wanting to add to their lead but had to be on their guard for the hosts’ counter. Barnsley were flowing with confidence as the shell-shocked Boro struggled to deal with Flicker’s hardworking charges.
Leadbitter let fly an absolute rocket from 25 yards on 86 minutes which stung the palms of Luke Steele. The Reds’ number one did well to palm the ball away from danger.
The Reds were virtually camped in the Boro half but they would have to close out a remarkable five minutes of stoppage time.
A corner was headed well over from Bikey as the home side, predictably, piled forward at every possible opportunity.
The full time whistle brought jubilation to the travelling 643 Tykes who had witnessed another Titanic effort from their side.
Middlesbrough: J. Steele, Leadbitter, Bikey, Bailey, Friend, Ledesma (Halliday 79), Williams, Dyer (Zemmama 79), Hines, Jutkiewicz (Main 46), Carayol.
Subs: McEachran, Parnaby, Jayson, Leutwiler, Smallwood.
Reds: Steele, Delap, Golbourne, Kennedy, Foster, Cranie, Perkins, Etuhu, O’Brien (Scotland 63), Harewood (O’Grady 63), Dagnall (Hassell 79).
Subs: Alnwick, Wiseman, Mellis, Cywka.
Referee: J. Simpson.
Att: 15,034 (643 reds)