Barns­ley win is sixth in a row

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Simon Smed­ley

LEE John­son en­joyed a vic­to­ri­ous re­turn to Old­ham as de­fender Lewin Ny­atanga scored twice in a feisty clash which ended with the hosts be­ing re­duced to ten men.

Much had been made be­fore the game about John­son’s swift re­turn to the club he left just over a fort­night ago when the chance sur­faced to try and help the Tykes re­turn to the heady days of the Cham­pi­onship.

The Old­ham fans were not im­pressed with John­son up­ping sticks and mak­ing the switch to a League One ri­val and let their feel­ings known when the vis­it­ing boss emerged from the dress­ing room be­fore the game. But this was to be his and Barns­ley’s day.

They se­cured a bril­liant sixth straight victory – John­son’s fourth since tak­ing over – to zoom into the play-off spots, though they did fi­nally con­cede a goal to Mike Jones in the first half, the first in 498 min­utes of foot­ball.

John­son re­flected on an­other hugely sat­is­fac­tory day, but one which had clearly been dif­fi­cult pre­par­ing for and even­tu­ally see­ing through.

He said: “It’s been a tough day, but it was fan­tas­tic to get the win and that’s what it’s all about.

“It still feels very raw, but it was just a case of be­ing as pro­fes­sional as I could and get­ting on with the game.

“I un­der­stand the re­ac­tion of the Old­ham fans be­fore the game and I’m not go­ing to hold it against any­body. Don’t for­get I had two fan­tas­tic years here and ev­ery­one in­volved was very sup­port­ive. “I still don’t think every­body knows the full story, but I’m at Barns­ley. It’s a new club for me, a new be­gin­ning, and we’ve got an­other great re­sult.

“The first 20 min­utes or so wasn’t great, but I en­joyed it be­cause the lads played the at­mos­phere very well.

“It was pas­sion­ate and charged at times, but we got through it un­scathed and we move on to Tues­day now and a trip to Ley­ton Ori­ent. “They’re in a re­ally false po­si­tion, so we’re in for a tough night. I think that’s go­ing to be our tough­est game be­tween now and the end of the sea­son, but con­fi­dence is cer­tainly high in the camp so why can’t we keep this run go­ing?”

The Roses clash at Bound­ary Park burst into life with three goals in eight min­utes fol­low­ing a dis­mal open­ing half-an-hour.

It was the Tykes who broke the dead­lock in the 33rd minute. Old­ham goal­keeper Jake Kean saved well from Josh Scowen as he met Conor Houri­hane’s in-swing­ing free-kick, but as the ball bounced loose, de­fender Ny­atanga was per­fectly placed to ram home the re­bound.

It was quickly 2-0 to the vis­i­tors, this time in much more for­tu­itous cir­cum­stances as Carl Winch­ester’s at­tempted clear­ance struck the heel of Houri­hane and the ball crept al­most apolo­get­i­cally into the bot­tom cor­ner.

It ap­peared that the Tykes were in cruise con­trol, only for Old­ham to swiftly halve the deficit as mid­fielder Jones drilled home su­perbly from an an­gle af­ter meet­ing Conor Wilkin- son’s pre­cise knock-down. Once Ny­atanga had made it 3-1 to Barns­ley in the 70th minute, cour­tesy of an­other close-range fin­ish af­ter John O’Sul­li­van’s header had struck a post, the vis­i­tors eased to the points which el­e­vated them into sixth spot in the ta­ble.

Old­ham skip­per Adam Lock­wood was sent off in the dy­ing sec­onds af­ter be­ing shown a sec­ond yel­low card.

Th­ese are sticky times for Old­ham, who had them­selves been play-off con­tenders be­fore John­son’s exit.

Care­taker boss Dean Holden said: “It was never go­ing to be easy for us. We have got prob­lems with miss­ing play­ers through in­jury, but, first and fore­most, we’ve got to start de­fend­ing bet­ter at set-pieces.

“We need a so­lu­tion quickly be­cause we’ve got MK Dons here on Tues­day and they’re a great side.

“Our play­ers know they’re in a hell of a battle, but it’s re­ally up to them once they cross that white line. We’ve still got a lot of points to play for.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

TYKE TER­ROR: Barns­ley’s Lewin Ny­atanga cel­e­brates scor­ing the first of his two goals as boss Lee John­son, inset, fin­ished vic­to­ri­ous on a dif­fi­cult day per­son­ally

CON­SO­LA­TION: Old­ham’s Mike Jones scores his side’s only goal of the game shortly be­fore half-time


ANE Barnsle


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