The Dagnall Show
Reds 2 (Dagnall pen 63, 66)
A Chris Dagnall-inspired team performance blew away Leeds at Oakwell, with the little forward blasting in his first league goals for the Reds.
It seemed luck wasn’t on Barnsley’s side after a completely dominant first-half display with no reward in front of goal but the second period saw Flitcroft’s Tykes reap what they sowed in the opening period when Dagnall struck twice, with his first from the spot. There was no surprise when Barnsley’s number 13 was awarded ‘man of the match’.
Before the action commenced, both sets of supporters joined together for a glorious minute’s applause for the soldier Richard Walker who recently lost his life in Afghanistan – both home and away fans chanted ‘Yorkshire’ in unison which was a fitting tribute for the 23-year-old.
Ninety seconds in and Kenny did well to turn over O’Brien’s deflected shot after strong hold-up play from Harewood in the box. It took Becchio seven minutes to have his say but couldn’t connect properly with a header that drifted wide from eight yards.
It was fast and frenetic with Barnsley looking hungry on the ball for the little time they didn’t have it in the opening 10 minutes.
Kenny was in action again on 13 minutes as he tipped Dawson’s 25 yard effort away but Golbourne kept the move alive and found Harewood who cut in cracked a low one onto the post.
Steele was quick off his line to smother a through-ball on 17 minutes, but it was all Barnsley as they continued to press forward with intent.
With 21 gone it was Cranie’s turn to go close as he met O’Brien’s out-swinging corner but is effort was cleared off the line with everyone practically up celebrating.
There were ironic cheers from the Leeds fans as their side finally managed to string three passes together on 23 minutes but Barnsley were the ones going close again as O’Brien half-volleyed at goal only for Kenny to punch wide.
O’Brien was on the wrong end of a strong challenge a minute before the half-hour mark and it was fortunate Diouf’s cross was poor as Leeds continued to attack. The Reds’ number eight was taken off on a stretcher meaning Jacob Mellis had to come on.
The Leeds fans were jeering their side as Barnsley bossed midfield with Perkins and Dawson running the show – the former charged forward before threading for Dagnall but he dinked a delicate chip just wide.
Three minutes of added time was indicated and it almost saw a goal for Barnsley when Harewood fizzed in a cross which was begging to be turned home but it was just inches in front of Dagnall.
The second period picked up where the first left off but it was evident that Neil Warnock had had strong words with his team at the break.
On 57 minutes Leeds came the closest they had all match when Barkley had oceans of time in the box but hammered a thunderous drive onto the bar.
Two minutes past the hour saw Dagnall race clear onto a Mellis pass but he was upended in the area by Byram. The little forward dusted himself down and took responsibility in front of the travelling 4834 fans and thumped home his first league goal that was long, long overdue for Barnsley in respect of reward for his monumental effort all season. Kenny went the wrong way – the ball went into the top corner with 63 played.
Talk of London buses, Dagnall bagged his second at the end of a sensational move just three minutes later. Mellis found Harewood, who Leeds couldn’t handle, and he turned the ball into the path of Dagnall who raced forward down the left-hand channel of the box before tucking past Kenny in front of a stunned away end.
Dagnall was all over the shop, running Leeds ragged. He got the better of Byram once more and found Harewood whose shot deflected over the bar on 78 minutes.
Barkley fired over in anger on 79 but it was a poor turnout from Warnock’s charges – his team had been dominated throughout.
On 85 minutes Marlon Harewood steamed forward down the right and into the box but could only drill wide of the left-hand side of the post.
Mellis was replaced by Danny Rose with just a few minutes to spare. The former Chelsea man had completed an hour after coming on for O’Brien early doors.
A standing ovation was no less than Chris Dagnall deserved when he was substituted for Reuben Noble-Lazarus in the dying embers of the game.
Three minutes of stoppage time soon ran out for Warnock and his Leeds side – they had been outfought and outclassed on all fronts.
Barnsley: Steele, O'Brien (Mellis 33 (Rose 88)), Dawson, Golbourne, Kennedy, Dagnall (Noble-Lazarus 90), Cranie, Perkins, Harewood, McNulty, Stones.
Subs: Alnwick, Foster, Hassell, Etuhu.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Austin, Becchio, Tate, Tonge, Norris (McCormack 46), Barkley, Hadji-Diouf (Green 46), Byram.
Subs: Ashdown, Lees, Varney, White, Somma.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees: Marvyn Amphlett and Edward Smart
Fourth Official: Mark Astley
Attendance: 13,999 (4843 away)