Refresh your memories of a successful return to the Sky Bet Championship for Barnsley Football Club!
After a successful pre-season campaign which saw the Reds suffer just the one defeat against Premier League Everton at Oakwell, spirits were high going into the opening day. Hecky had been confirmed as full time Head Coach and exciting young players came in to the Club, with the remit from everyone being to ensure we stayed in the league. Talisman and two time Wembley-hero Adam Hammill committed his future to add further excitement to the season ahead!
An opening day defeat away at Ipswich was followed up by a league cup defeat to Northampton, which was a slight dampener on the start of the season but the Reds quickly bounced back. An excellent performance at home to Derby County showed what the squad was capable of with a solid 2-0 victory, which was again quickly followed up by a dramatic last minute Josh Scowen winner against QPR just days later. The first Yorkshire derby of the season was next and a highly competitive match which saw both teams trying to win was won in the final seconds by Huddersfield. The final match of the month saw the Reds return to home turf and demolish South Yorkshire rivals, Rotherham United with a 4-0 scoreline.
Following the international break, two tough away trips to Preston and Wolves followed. Adam Armstrong’s stunning debut goal away at Preston secured another three points, before a 20-minute demolition of Wolves at Molineux sent the Reds fans into raptures with their second 4-0 win in three matches. September ended with defeat to promotion chasing Reading and Brighton by narrow margins, before a last gasp equaliser at home to Aston Villa showed that the Reds were not just in this league to make the numbers up.
A tough October was then to follow, with the first three matches against sides who were again, all chasing promotion. A 2-1 defeat in the Yorkshire derby away at Leeds was harsh on Paul Heckingbottom’s side who had their chances to win it, before a crazy home match against Fulham saw the West Londoner’s leave with three points in a six-goal encounter. Just a couple of days later, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle arrived at Oakwell and two pieces of quality from Dwight Gayle were the only difference in another competitive match. The tough matches kept coming with a trip to Brentford who were previously unbeaten at Griffin Park before the Reds claimed a superb 2-0 victory. Adam Hammill ended the month with a stunning run and finish against Bristol City to secure a point in the final seconds at Oakwell.
Due to international breaks, November would only have three matches. They would prove to be a frustrating three for Paul Heckingbottom’s side with only two points to show for it, despite the fact it could quite easily have been nine. Successive goalless draws with both Burton and Wigan showed the Reds’ ability to keep a clean sheet in testing circumstances, but the ball just wouldn’t go in at the other end. Nottingham Forest’s arrival at Oakwell was the first televised game of the season, but it wasn’t one to remember. The visitors won 5-2, scoring with just about every shot on target they had, with the 10 man Reds having over 20 shots but the luck wasn’t there.
In what had been a sensational 2016 for Barnsley Football Club, the final month was a fitting way to end the calendar year. A stunning 3-0 victory away at Birmingham was backed up with a home win over play-off chasing Norwich City. A tough away loss followed at rivals Sheffield Wednesday in controversial style following the dismissal of Adam Hammill and two own-goals at Hillsborough. Days after that loss, the final away match before Christmas saw the Reds travel to the Welsh capital where another three points were recorded in stunning fashion with Ryan Williams scoring a 94th minute winner in a 4-3 victory. A Boxing Day clash with Blackburn saw another 2-0 victory before the final match of 2016 welcomed Birmingham to Oakwell. An entertaining 2-2 draw saw the Reds end the year in the top 10!
With the transfer window opening in January, a testing month both on and off the pitch was to follow. Conor Hourihane’s goal of the season contender in the dying seconds at Nottingham Forest kicked 2017 off in style, before the FA Cup 3rd round tie at Blackpool. A tough 0-0 draw on the Fylde Coast meant a replay at Oakwell was needed, which saw the Tangerines score an extra-time winner meaning Barnsley exited the cup. In the league action, Fulham became the first team to secure both home and away wins against Barnsley with a 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage. A huge Yorkshire derby at Oakwell was won in spectacular fashion, as Conor Hourihane’s magnificent free-kick was his final bow in a Barnsley shirt to win the match before his move to Aston Villa. It was back-to-back Yorkshire derby wins to end the month as Armstrong netted the winner at Rotherham, before Wolves came to Oakwell and left with the points on transfer deadline day.
February looked to be a testing month on paper but the Reds suffered just the one defeat in five against a high-flying bunch. Two 0-0 draws at home to Preston and away at Reading were commendable but the highlight of the month was yet another away performance in the form of a 3-1 victory against Aston Villa, where two Tom Bradshaw strikes and an Armstrong penalty gave the Reds all three points. Brighton were next up at Oakwell and secured a hard-fought 2-0 victory on their way to the Premier League, before another Yorkshire derby at Oakwell saw Marley Watkins net a deserved equaliser to draw 1-1 with Huddersfield Town.
A winless March was harsh on Paul Heckingbottom’s Reds, and was all down to fine margins. Matty James continued to impress and scored a header away at Derby, only for two horrific deflections which allowed Derby to net twice and take the three points. A long Tuesday night trip to QPR followed and a slow start costs Hecky’s side the points as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead. Chance after chance came to get back into the match but just a solitary Bradshaw effort hit the back of the net meaning successive 2-1 defeats. Ipswich were next to visit Oakwell and somehow escaped with a 1-1 draw in the final seconds, before a 2-0 defeat away at a strong Norwich side ended the month.
The month began with the final derby match of the season against South Yorkshire rivals, Sheffield Wednesday. The Reds more than matched their play-off chasing opponents and after falling behind, Oakwell was sent into a frenzy when Angus MacDonald scored with seconds remaining to level the scores. Cardiff were next up and despite completely dominating the game, the Bluebirds’ defensive approach gave them the point they had come for with a 0-0 draw. A successive clean sheet followed in the next match after two goals in the first 10 minutes put Blackburn to the sword with a 2-0 away win which secured the Reds’ Championship status with games to spare, before another trip to Lancashire just days later ended with defeat at seriously relegation threatened Wigan. Easter Monday saw a highly competitive game at Oakwell end 1-1 against in-form Brentford with ‘keeper Adam Davies making a vital penalty save. The penultimate away game ended in defeat as Bristol City all-but secured their survival with a much needed 3-2 victory.
April ended at home to Burton Albion at Oakwell, with Nigel Clough’s side arriving needing just a point to secure their Championship status following their promotion with Barnsley last season. The Brewers came for the point they needed from the outset and secured a 1-1 draw with secured their status in the division with one match to go.
The final day saw Paul Heckingbottom’s side travel to recently promoted Newcastle United. The Geordies had secured an immediate return to the Premier League, but wanted to ensure they finished as Champions. A 3-0 victory for the home side followed and St. James’ Park erupted with positive news from elsewhere that meant they were crowned champions of the division. Despite defeat, the Reds finished a thoroughly enjoyable campaign in 14th place with 58 points!
Thank you for your fantastic following both home and away all season. Season Ticket information for another exciting campaign in 2017/18 can be found at www.onceared.com!