Michal Helik’s double, including a dramatic late winner, was enough for Barnsley to complete another turnaround victory, this time over Huddersfield Town in an entertaining Boxing Day derby at Oakwell.
With the scores level deep into added time, Helik reacted quickest after the ball fell to him following Herbie Kane’s long throw to net the winner and spark jubilation among the home players.
The result was Valérien Ismaël’s ninth win in his 14th game in charge of the Reds, and provides the perfect tonic to the defeat in South Wales last weekend.
Ismaël had previously talked about his frustrations regarding his side’s recent tendency to concede first, and it seems issues may still remain in that area as the visitors drew first blood.
With just 13 minutes on the clock, the Terriers worked a tidy short corner routine to Carel Eiting, who flicked in a cross that was nodded home by Rarmani Edmonds-Green.
However, another hallmark of recent Barnsley games is the Reds’ ability to strike back, and this time the equaliser took just eight minutes to arrive, in somewhat similar fashion to the visitors’ opener.
Matty James’ cross eventually found its way to Helik in the centre of the box, and following a brief moment of doubt, referee David Webb confirmed the Pole’s header had indeed crossed the line prior to being cleared.
Honours even was a fair reflection of an open first half, although Cauley Woodrow was narrowly stopped from giving the home side the lead a minute before the break when his shot was deflected wide.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1-1 Huddersfield Town
Clear-cut chances were a little harder to come by in a stickier second half, but opportunities did present themselves to both sides.
Just two minutes after half-time, Edmonds-Green almost netted his second but was unable to connect with Juninho Bacuna’s cross at the back post.
With the match finely poised, the introduction of Victor Adeboyejo, scorer of the winning goal at Oakwell last time out, almost made a difference and it took some goalkeeping heroics to ensure the scores remained level.
Adeboyejo’s acrobatic overhead kick was pushed away by Ryan Schofield, seconds before the Terriers stopper denied Conor Chaplin.
Time ticked down and a draw seemed the most likely outcome, until Helik’s dramatic intervention saw the Reds to their third successive 2-1 home victory.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2-1 Huddersfield Town
REDS XI: Walton (GK), Styles, Andersen, Brittain, Woodrow (Miller), Chaplin (Thomas), Sollbauer, Mowatt (c) (Palmer), Frieser (Adeboyejo), Helik, James (Kane).
Unused: Schmidt, Palmer, Oduor, Miller, Moon, Collins (GK).