Tykes are Wright to want to win ugly
WINNING ugly is just fine for Barnsley assistant head coach Tommy Wright after the Tykes’ resolute performance earned victory against Gillingham.
Gillingham had only previously won once at Oakwell, back in 1968, and goals from Ben Pearson and Sam Winnall ensured it remained an unhappy hunting ground for the visitors.
And though Wright admitted the hosts were not at their best, he believes grinding out a victory is a mark of the progress the young team is making.
“I’ve told the players it wasn’t our best performance – the quality on the ball was not great – but sometimes you get that and the important thing is to win ugly,” he said.
“You will get games in the season where you aren’t playing so well and it’s important to learn how to win them.
“The pleasing thing was how we stood up and apart from two or three occasions we coped with Gillingham’s pressure quite well.
“We’ve got a very young team and if we want to be successful we need to learn to get that consistency – winning this game was a big plus.”
Gillingham started the brighter of the two, but Luke Norris fired wide on three minutes and Ben Williamson’s low shot was held by Nick Townsend.
But Pearson’s unstoppable 20-yard strike, after Josh Scowen’s cross was not properly cleared, gave Barnsley the lead on 18 minutes.
Kadeem Harris then cut inside from the left-wing on 34 minutes, and his right-footed shot looked destined for the top corner until Stuart Nelson pushed it wide.
Winnall doubled the advantage in first-half stoppage time, arriving late after Marley Watkins’ pulled the ball back to finish low into the corner.
Gillingham shuffled their attacking options after the break, and substitute Rory Donnelly volleyed just over from the edge of the box on 69 minutes.
Cody McDonald’s shot was then saved by Townsend’s legs on 89 minutes and Jake Hessenthaler’s header hit the post in stoppage time. But boss Justin Edinburgh felt his team lacked a creative spark as they suffered their second straight defeat.
“I’m disappointed,” he said.“Nobody enjoys losing and it’s the first time this season we haven’t done enough to win the game.
“To go in 2-0 down at half time was hard to take but, though we huffed and puffed, I didn’t think our inventiveness in the final third was good enough.
“We’ve got to learn from these two defeats now to get us back on track.We have to be more creative.
“The level of performance has to be better.”
STAR MAN GEORG
E SMITH Barnsle