TYKES MARCH ON UNDER JOHNSON
BARNSLEY march on under new boss Lee Johnson as they eased to their fifth straight victory against woeful Walsall – with the man in charge adamant there is still more to come.
The resurgent Tykes – who have won all five games without conceding a single goal – are now only goal difference shy of the League One play-off places, something that seemed hugely improbable just three weeks earlier following a 5-1 thumping at Crawley.
Danny Wilson’s replacement Johnson, who has been in charge for the last three games following a switch from Oldham, deflected all the latest praise on to his players.
He said: “That was a great win, and of course it's what everyone wants to see.
“Great credit has to go to all the players because it's not been easy having to play three games in a week.
“We’re still nowhere near where I want to be in terms of how we’re playing, but it isn’t always easy when pitches are like they are at this stage of the season.
“It’s been a fantastic run, but I’m keen that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.
“There’s still lots of games to play, and though we are on a terrific run, I’m going to continue with this pursuit of excellence.”
Barnsley dominated the first half at Oakwell and they deservedly led at the break thanks to George Waring’s 16th-minute strike. He dived in menacingly to head home Conor Hourihane’s in-swinging corner-kick at the near post.
Waring then slid in to meet Ben Pearson’s cross, only for his volley to drift inches wide of the post.
The theme continued into the second period, with the Tykes totally in command.
Waring doubled his and Barnsley’s tally in the 71st minute when he met a sweet pass from John O’Sullivan before drifting past a couple of weak Walsall challenges and slotting home from an acute angle.
Substitute Sam Winnall wrapped up a super win seconds before the game entered stoppagetime. The former Scunthorpe man was teed up by O’Sullivan before side-footing home from eight yards.
It’s now just one win from six games for the sickly Saddlers and manager Dean Smith said: “It was a poor game, in poor conditions, and it was played on a poor pitch to be honest.
“In the end I suppose Barnsley defended better than us. They’ve shown in recent games that they are tough to break down, and we’ve seen that again.
“Overall, they were better than us, and that is disappointing because we had played so well during the week.
“We’d created so many chances on Tuesday, but we just couldn’t get ourselves going here for one reason or another.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down again now and go again.”
ROAR: Barnsley's Sam Winnall celebrates his goal STAR MAN GEORG
y PLUNGE: Barnsley's George Waring, second right, heads the opening goal