Mow way back for Warnock
‘MY MISSUS WOULD BE UNHAPPY TO LET THAT IN’
ALEX MOWATT celebrated his Championship Player of the Month award by firing rampant Barnsley a step closer to the Premier League.
On Friday, the 26-year-old Tykes skipper was crowned the division’s best performer for March and he took centre stage again yesterday.
With the visitors proving a tough nut to crack, ex-Leeds star Mowatt curled in an inswinging corner from the right flank which flew all the way over hapless Marcus Bettinelli and into the Boro keeper’s net. Mowatt’s 62nd-minute opener was added to 15 minutes from time when American striker Daryl Dike dived to head home.
Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael, whose side are five points clear of seventh-placed Reading with five games to go, said: “I think Alex is finding some great form.
“He played at a very high level with consistency and has just got the reward with the Player of the Month. Alex and Dike are key players and showed that again today. We have crossed the 70-point mark and psychologically that’s very important.”
Chances were scarce until Bettinelli’s blunder and Boro boss Neil Warnock said: “What can you say about a goal like that? My missus would have been disappointed to concede it.”
Warnock pledged to overhaul his squad during the summer and also aimed a jibe at Barnsley’s long-ball approach. He said: “I don’t think Barnsley will get away with playing like this two seasons on the trot. They have to go up this season and ruffle a few feathers – but I don’t think some of my lads would enjoy playing in the team.
“I’m glad I only have to come here once. Their defenders don’t think about anything except hoofing it straight away.”
Ismael also believed that Bettinelli should have seen red for chopping down Dike during the second half.
The Frenchman added: “It’s another big mistake from the referee.”
Barnsley have been out of the top flight since their solitary Premier League campaign in 1997-98 but have been a side transformed under Ismael. He added: “Today was about getting the job done. They tried to take out the intensity of the game.
“But we changed things around and, as usual, setpieces make the differences at this level.”
BARNSLEY: Collins 6; Sibbick 6, Helik 6, Andersen 6; Brittain 6, Palmer 6 (Halme 57, 6), Mowatt 8, Styles 7; Frieser 6 (Morris 46, 6), Woodrow 7 (Chaplin 57, 6); Dike 8.
Unused subs: Walton, Williams, Odour, Sollbauer, Adeboyejo, Moon.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Bettinelli 4; Fisher 6, Hall 7, McNair 6, Bola 6 (Johnson 80); Saville 6, Howson 6; Spence 6 (Coulson 80), Kebano 6 (Bolasie 70, 6), Watmore 6 (Assombalonga 70, 6); Akpom 6 (Fletcher 70, 6). Unused subs: Archer.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex Mowatt. The Tykes’ skipper opened the scoring and was a constant driving force.
REFEREE: Keith Stroud 6.