The Reds’ Emirates FA Cup journey began with a trip to Gresty Road, to face the high-flying Railwaymen from Sky Bet League Two and Gerhard Struber's side edged a competitive contest.
Despite a gutsy effort from the home side, Gerhard Struber’s Reds ran out winners thanks to goals from Jacob Brown, Conor Chaplin and Luke Thomas – the second two goals coming after a Daniel Powell equaliser – allowing Barnsley to book a place in round four of the competition.
Struber decided to make four changes to his starting XI from Thursday night’s loss at Derby County. The impressive Elliot Simoes was handed a start after netting his first goal for the club, with recalls for Kenny Dougall, Jacob Brown and Brad Collins to the starting line-up.
It was one of those recalls that did paid dividends early on in the game. A delightful knock-down by Conor Chaplin into the path of the onrushing Brown, saw the ‘star man’ strike a clean half-volley which nestled into the bottom corner on just three minutes. That set the early tone and the travelling 1,200 or so Barnsley fans were delighted.
A couple more half-chances came, firstly as a captain Alex Mowatt had a strike at goal, only to see it superbly saved by Jaaskelainen in the Crewe net. The ‘keeper was in action again shortly after, this time stopping from Luke Thomas as the Reds looked to stamp their authority further on the match.
However, with just over half an hour on the clock, the home side did spring into action. With Bambo Diaby and Kenny Dougall both down on the floor following a heavy collision, Crewe played on and raced into the box. Charlie Kirk squared the ball across the middle of Collins’ area only for Daniel Powell to somehow miss an open goal.
That was to be the last action of an entertaining first half. The Reds went in with the lead.
HALF TIME: Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Barnsley
The second half began in controversial fashion. Crewe, who had finished the first half the stronger, continued that effort and equalised. However, the frustration of the Barnsley players was clear after the goal and the replays did indeed show that there was an offside in the build up by quite some margin, before Paul Green headed home to level for 1-1.
With both teams looking to now go on and win the game, the next chance of note was totally unexpected. Jordan Williams was brought down out wide, allowing a free-kick to be whipped into the box, or at least that’s what we thought. Clarke Oduor fooled everyone and decided to shoot, cannoning his audacious effort off the crossbar after a fine fingertip save from Jaaskelainen.
After some scrappy play for a period of time, the Reds did deservedly get themselves back in the lead. Mowatt crossed into the box from wide left, where Bambo Diaby met the ball and headered back across the box for the inform Conor Chaplin to head home and restore the lead, making it 1-2 to Struber’s side.
The final few moments played out, with Ben Williams and Patrick Schmidt entering the action in place of Clarke Oduor and Elliot Simoes.
In truth, despite the best efforts of the home crowd who were up for the contest throughout, Brad Collins wasn’t troubled and a place in the fourth round was secured when Luke Thomas fired into an empty net to secure the win after the Reds broke quickly from a Crewe free-kick, which the home ‘keeper had gone upfield up for.
FULL TIME: Crewe Alexandra 1-3 Barnsley
Barnsley XI: Collins (GK), J. Williams, Diaby, Andersen, Oduor, Dougall, Mowatt, Thomas, Simoes, Brown, Chaplin.
Subs: Radlinger (GK), B. Williams, Schmidt, Styles, Bähre, Halme, Sibbick
Crewe XI: Jaaskelainen (GK), Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Powell, Kirk, Ainley, Green, Hunt, Lowery, Anene.
Subs: Richards (GK) Jones, Finney, Dale, Johnson, Adebisi, Mbulu.