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Match Reports


13 January 2024

Match Reports


13 January 2024

Barnsley continued their recent fine form with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds went ahead late in the first half through Devante Cole’s 15th goal of the campaign but were pegged back after the break by Chris Martin.

However, Corey O’Keeffe was on hand to secure three points in front of a raucous Oakwell crowd and maintain our place in the top six.

After a less than eventful opening period, the game burst into life with half an hour on the clock as O’Keeffe and Adam Phillips both nearly profited from a goalmouth scramble, only to see their efforts blocked.

From the resulting corner, Jack Shepherd – making his first league start since the beginning of September – rose highest to plant a header toward goal that Matthew Cox palmed away before Jon Russell’s follow up was hacked clear.

At the other end, Liam Roberts showed great alertness to race off his line and thwart Jevani Brown after the Rovers forward had sprung the offside trap.

Moments later, Herbie Kane surged forward and took aim from 20-yards, and it looked as though his low drive was going to nestle in the bottom corner but fizzed agonisingly wide.

The Reds’ persistence paid off eventually, however, when John McAtee picked out Cole with a sublime cross. Our leading scorer’s initial header was turned onto the post by Cox, but he was on hand to prod in the rebound from virtually on the goalline.

There was still time for one last scare before the interval as Luke Thomas – returning to Oakwell – looked to capitalise on a defensive error, but rather than shoot with his right, opted to pass up the opportunity before working it onto his left foot, with his effort comfortable for Roberts to parry to safety.

HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1-0 Bristol Rovers

The visitors carried on that momentum into the second half and came close to levelling when Harvey Vale whipped a fierce drive from the edge of the box that flashed narrowly past the upright.

Tristan Crama then nearly bundled home from a free-kick that eluded everyone in a red shirt, but Roberts was on hand to gather low down.

Midway through the half, though, Rovers did find an equaliser when Jack Hunt’s deep cross was powered home by Martin.

That was almost added to in the blink of an eye as a shellshocked Barnsley failed to deal with a ball into the box, and Martin’s opportunistic attempt was blocked before being smothered by Roberts.

Stung into action, the Reds rallied and Phillips showed quick feet and excellent composure to dance beyond a couple of challenges and slide in O’Keeffe, who drilled low into the far corner to re-establish our lead.

The Gas pushed hard for another leveller and came close through Antony Evans, who lashed a shot wide from the corner of the box with a few minutes remaining before Vale forced Roberts into a fine save up to his right.

It proved to be the last real opportunity of the match as the Reds held on for three important points to make it nine games unbeaten in Sky Bet League One.

FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2-1 Bristol Rovers


REDS XI: Roberts (GK), O’Keeffe (Łopata, 85), Williams (C), de Gevigney, Shepherd, Styles, Phillips, Russell (Cosgrove, 61), Kane, McAtee (Cadden, 85), Cole (Watters, 90+2).

Not used: Killip, Cotter, Jaló.

ROVERS XI: Cox (GK), Connolly (Gibbons, 80), Grant, Finley (C), Thomas (Collins, 80), Martin, Vale, Brown (Marquis, 66), Evans, McCormick (Hunt, 66), Crama.

Not used: Ward (GK), Sinclair, Hoole.

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