Barnsley resurgence builds at Oakwell
REJUVENATED Barnsley survived a late barrage from Millwall to grab a hard-earned third victory in four games at a bitterly cold Oakwell.
Adam Hammill was the match-winner in the end, but the Tykes were indebted to a couple of goal-line clearances, and the woodwork seconds from the end, as they hung on for a precious three points.
Barnsley boss Lee Johnson saluted a backs-to-the-wall defensive effort as his side appear to be over the concerns of October and November, when they lost eight straight league games.
Johnson said: “Our performances have really turned in the last few games and this was further evidence of that.
“We knew Millwall would be tough to break down, and then when we went 2-1 up I figured they’d throw everything at us again. That’s exactly what they did, so I have to give credit to all our defenders for standing up to Millwall’s threat in the manner that they did.
“This game had a bit of everything, so in that respect I’m delighted we’ve come through with another victory.
“We showed real commitment to the cause and that bodes well for the coming games.”
Barnsley were good value for their half-time lead, handed to them by in-form front-man Sam Winnall after just 12 minutes.
Winnall clinically headed home Hammill’s cross to register his tenth goal of the season, and third in two games.
Hammill went close to doubling Barnsley’s lead, while the Lions roared back with Shaun Williams being denied by a smart stop from Adam Davies.
After Steve Morison had been denied by the first goal-line clearance, Millwall evened it up just past the hour mark when Morison followed up to tap home after Joe Martin’s initial effort had struck the post. However, Hammill won the game six minutes later when he took a neat pass from Winnall before beating three defenders and smashing brilliantly past David Forde.
The Lions came agonisingly close to grabbing a share of the spoils in the closing stages, but luck deserted them.
Both Morison and Byron Webster were denied late on, while Morison held his head in his hands after seeing a header crash against the bar in the dying seconds.
Millwall boss Neil Harris said: “Unfortunately it’s another day where we’ve been punished for defensive errors, and I can’t keep saying that.
“We looked much more of a threat in the second half, but we conceded the second goal at totally the wrong time.
“We’ll hopefully be able to make some changes in January.”
STAR MAN ADAM HAMMILL