Barnsley 3-2 Queens Park Rangers
A superb and deserved victory under the floodlights of Oakwell saw Paul Heckingbottom’s side get three excellent points, through Josh Scowen’s strike in the closing moments of the match, sending the home fans into raptures.
The Reds were in front at half-time through a Marley Watkins header, before QPR scored both their goals from the penalty spot to take a 2-1 lead in the second half. Conor Hourihane’s stunning free-kick drew the scores level, then the winner came through Scowen’s late strike. Before full-time was out, Grant Hall received his marching orders from the referee as he brought down Stefan Payne and duly received a second yellow card.
The match kicked off and the Reds were instantly on the front-foot. Just like Saturday’s win over Derby County, the wingers and full-backs were causing early chaos. Aidy White drew the first chance as he broke free down the right, crossed for Ryan Kent, who saw his shot put wide for a corner. From that corner the Reds took the lead. As usual, Hourihane’s pinpoint cross found a red shirt in the shape of Marc Roberts, who headed across goal for Watkins to power home a header inside the six yard box.
The level of football was hugely impressive from Heckingbottom’s side, as neat one-touch interplay saw the away teams defence cut open again, but this time they did get back to clear the danger following another Kent cross.
Not long after, Hourihane was given another chance to find a red shirt inside the box from a free-kick in a crossing position and he did just that. Scowen connected by jumping highest but he flicked his header just the wrong side of the post.
There was then an intense battle developing between R’s left-back Jake Bidwell, and Reds winger Ryan Kent. Both players were constantly trying to attack against each other, and both players were also standing up to their defensive duties.
Barnsley didn’t have the half all their own way, though. Jordan Cousins was the main danger for the away side as he had more than one chance to get a shot off in the box, but was stopped in his tracks by the superb defensive partnership of Marc Roberts and Alfie Mawson. Both players made last-ditch challenges to clear the ball just as the striker moved in on goal.
The last piece of danger before half-time fell to Tjaronn Chery as he had a free-kick 20 yards out. The R’s player curled up and over the wall, but saw his effort crash against the bar.
HALF TIME: Reds 1-0 QPR
The second half began in a disastrous way, as the away side were awarded an instant penalty. Sebastian Polter got goalside of Roberts, who was adjudged to have brought him down. Chery stepped up for the visitors from the spot and put his effort straight down the middle to level proceedings at 1-1.
Just moments later, Kent nearly put the Reds back in front. Roberts launched a throw into the box, and the ball fell to Kent on the edge but he smashed his effort just over. Moments later, Adam Hammill was denied with a stunning volley on goal by Onuoha who cleared off the line! The Reds were pressing and pressing to try find a winning goal and looked the most likely, until the second Rangers penalty arrived.
This time it was James Bree who was penalised, for bringing down Yeni Ngbakoto. A change of penalty taker followed as Polter dispatched his effort past Davies, despite the Reds number one going the right waym to put the Reds 1-2 behind against the run of play.
Again, the Reds looked to reply instantly. Straight up the other end, Hourihane gathered the ball on the edge of the box but was shoved to the floor, giving the skipper a free-kick in a shooting position. He stood over it, looked up, and picked his spot by curling a delightful left-footed effort into the top corner to level the scores within a minute. It was nothing more than Barnsley deserved and Oakwell was rocking!
With then moments remaining, both sides pushed for a winner, but in truth it was always the Reds who looked more likely, and it came! Stefan Payne – on as a second half substitute – chased a pass down inside the box when the Rangers defence didn’t expect to see anyone, and chipped the ball over the back-line allowing Scowen the chance to fire home…. and he did just that by smashing the ball into the roof of the net, lifting the roof off Oakwell at the same time by completing the turn-around, making the score 3-2 to the Reds!
The Referee then added on four minutes of stoppage time to make it a nervy finish, but the Reds defence stood firm. There was still time however for more action as Grant Hall was shown a second yellow card, resulting in a red, after he brought down Payne as he looked clean through on goal.
The full time whistle arrived shortly after that moment, giving Heckingbottom’s men a deserved win and their second of the season in front of the home fans!
Full Time: Barnsley 3-2 Queens Park Rangers
Reds: Davies (GK), Bree, Roberts, Mawson, White, Hammill, Scowen, Hourihane (c), Kent, Bradshaw, Watkins
Subs: Townsend (GK), Yiadom, MacDonald, Moncur, Lee, D'Almeida, Payne
QPR: Smithies (GK), Bidwell, Hall, Onuoha (c), Cousins, Chery, Polter, Henry, Luongo, Caulker, Ngbakoto
Subs: Ingram (GK), Washington, El Khayati, Perch, Petrasso, Shodipo, Kakay