Barnsley 0-1 Crawley
The action finished at Oakwell with Barnsley losing 1-0 to Crawley in their first game of the new campaign. Despite a much improved second half performance, the Reds were unable to find the breakthrough as they were hindered by the second half sending off of Dale Jennings.
The Reds’ first game of the new League One season started well as Danny Wilson’s side entertained Crawley who had been the busiest league club during the summer, making 17 signings so far.
Today’s meeting is Crawley’s first ever visit to Oakwell but it was Barnsley who started best, winning a corner in the first minute. Crawley’s experienced keeper Brian Jensen dealt with the pressure well and picked the ball from a sea of heads.
Soon after, Barnsley keeper Adam Davies had some work to do. Firstly, Crawley’s Izale McLeod forced a good low save from Davies before Conor Henderson fired over the bar for the visitors.
The visitors continued to look lively in the following minutes as McLeod again went close as the front man flicked a header just wide of the post.
A frustrating period then followed for the Reds as the side were unlucky not to find a break after a long period on the ball. New striker Sam Winnall found space several times between the Red Devils’ defenders but he was unable to break the offside trap.
As the visitors continued to press, Crawley won a free kick on the edge of the Barnsley box. Taken quickly, the Reds defenders were immediately on the back foot as Crawley looked to employ the element of surprise.
After a brief scramble, Barnsley cleared the danger as the ball ran loose in the middle of the park.
The Reds’ next chance came from a free kick on the edge of the visitors half, swung in by Conor Hourihane the ball eventually bounced up to Danny Rose in the goal mouth but he was penalised by the referee for hand ball and subsequently booked.
Crawley’s physicality then dominated proceedings as the Reds look to get used to the more hands-on nature of League One.
Going into the final 10 minutes of the half, frustration for the Reds continued to mount as they were denied a free kick on the edge of the victor’s box.
Crawley then hit the post as Josh Simpson saw his effort come back off the woodwork after beating Davies in the Barnsley goal.
The Reds registered their first shot on target with five minutes left of the half. Dale Jennings down the left side cut inside before releasing a swinging shot across the Crawley goal forcing Jensen to make a wonderful save.
The dying minutes of the half saw both sides play well as the visitors continued to attack but the Reds stood firm at the back and kept the scores level.
The sides came out for the second half as the action picked up where it had left off before the break.
Still looking frustrated by Crawley’s physical approach, the Reds had been finding it difficult to pose much of a threat to the visitors.
Conor Hourihane registered the Reds’ first effort of the second half as he shot at the Crawley goal from 20 yards. Jensen in the visitor’s goal continued to look strong however as he comfortably dealt with the effort.
Barnsley looked to have picked themselves up in the minutes that followed as Dale Jennings ghosted into the box and managed to connect with a swinging cross from defender Martin Cranie. Jennings’ resulting effort saw Jensen scrambling in the Crawley goal as his
header went agonisingly over.
Soon after, Jennings was sent off by the referee after pushing Crawley defender Gwion Edwards following the Welshman’s foul on the Barnsley midfielder.
Now a man down, the Reds had to re-group before setting back about the task of taking three points from the fixture.
In an effort reinvigorate his side, Reds boss Danny Wilson brought on Keith Treacy to make his Barnsley debut as the Reds looked galvanised following Jennings’ dismissal.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, Luke Berry was replaced by striker Nana Boakye-Yiadom as the Reds continue to search for a goal in the final minutes.
Instead it was Crawley who took the lead from a late goal. A Henderson corner met the head of Izale McLeod who had looked dangerous all afternoon and his effort crashed into the back of the net and put the visitors ahead in the 81st minute.
The late goal thrust life into the last 10 minutes of the game as Adam Davies had to work hard in the Barnsley goal to ensure that the deficit was only one goal.
As the game entered its final stages, both sides exchanged attacks as the game looked to have been blown wide open.
Chances continued to fly in right into the dying seconds as the Reds were unlucky not to find an equaliser late on.
It was the visitors however who came out on top as their experience at this level seemed to be just enough to edge past the Reds and earn themselves the win.
Reds: Davies, Brown, Dudgeon, Berry (78), Nyatanga, Cranie (c), Hourihane, Winnall, Jennings, Rose (67), Bailey.
Subs: Digby, M'voto, Abbott, Boakye-Yiadom (78), Dibble, Bree, Treacy (67).
Crawley: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Dickson, Henderson, Leacock, Edwards, Smith, McLeod, Simpson (45), Walsh, Young (55).
Subs: Bradley, Banya (55) , Rose, Bawling (45), Tomlin, O'Connor, Spiegal.