Lee revels in perfect day for the Tykes
IT WAS not difficult to detect Lee Johnson’s mood after red-hot Sam Winnnall scored a hat-trick in a breathtaking demolition of Rochdale.
Barnsley were in the relegation zone at Christmas but have won all four league games since, with Winnall scoring eight of their 15 goals on that remarkable run.
So there was understandably a bit of a spring in Johnson’s step following what he described as “a perfect day”.
He said:“It’s pure elation. I’m delighted for everybody.
“People have scored goals and Sam’s got his hat-trick, and everybody’s in form.
“I’m delighted for the fans because we’ve put on a good show at home, and delighted for the staff and everyone involved.
“It was always going to be a tough game and it was up to a certain point, but then once we’ve scored the third we’ve gone on to produce a rout really.
“We’ve given the fans something that they can go home and buzz about for the next few days.
“I know that fans come to see their team win, and the spark at the end was probably the last two or three goals. It was an outstanding day to be a Barnsley fan.”
Adam Hammill set up Barnsley’s first two goals, crossing for both Alfie Mawson’s eighth minute header and Winnall’s first goal after the break.
Rochdale still looked in with a shout as late as the 65th minute, when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing halved the deficit.
But Keith Hill described what followed as being like a cricket batting collapse, starting with Winnall striking his second on the break four minutes later, provided by sub Ashley Fletcher seconds after his introduction from the bench.
From there Barnsley scored every time they went forwards, with Marley Watkins hitting a deserved 84th-minute goal after the Rochdale defence was again caught dithering.
Winnall sealed his hattrick, beating goalkeeper Josh Lillis to Fletcher’s headed flick on to nod into the open net.
Kevin Long then make it 6-1 in the last minute of injury time with a header from Connor Hourihane’s cross.
Manager Hill said: “We’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and the highs with the lows, but this is probably my all-time low with Rochdale Football Club.
“It wasn’t nice and the challenge is there for me and the players to roll up our sleeves even more.
“I don’t think the players gave up or stopped trying. There were far too many individual and collective mistakes, but sometimes when you’re on an off day you can try too hard and it has an adverse effect. But I’m not making any excuses.We were poor.”
STAR MAN SAM WINNA