Your Barnsley v Brentford match report powered by Utilita
Brentford’s push for the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs fell at the 45th hurdle as defeat to Barnsley ended a late surge for promotion. The Bees went in to the game just three points outside the top six, unbeaten in seven and with four wins from five but a goal in each half condemned them to defeat at Oakwell. The Bees fell behind to a very fortunate Kieffer Moore goal after a bright start and could not find a way back in to the game. Oliver McBurnie added a second soon after half time for the hosts and that gave them a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
It would be hard to argue that Barnsley deserved the points on the balance of play. They came in to the game in the bottom three and started the game poorly as Brentford pushed forward. But they grew in confidence after the goal and then even more after the break as The Bees chased the game without success. In the end, they could have had a more comfortable win with chances that went begging in the second half.
Brentford went on the attack from the first whistle and had chances to get themselves ahead within the first five minutes. Ryan Woods was dictating play at the base of the Brentford midfield with Romaine Sawyers and Lewis Macleod finding space in front of him. Florian Jozefzoon and Sergi Canós were hugging the touchlines and looking to get at the home defence. The only thing lacking from Brentford’s start was a goal.
There was almost one within two minutes when Jozefzoon got away on the right and cut the ball back to Canós but his shot was blocked. Another Canós shot was blocked soon after when he burst in to the box from the left and Sawyers then saw a shot saved by Jack Walton after more good work by Jozefzoon. Sawyers was able to pick his spot from 18 yards and should probably have given the home goalkeeper a sterner test than he did.
The Bees created another good opening soon after when Ollie Watkins turned free from the defence and found Sawyers, a little through ball opened up a shooting chance for Canós but the door was quickly closed and the effort blocked. And Brentford not taking one of those early chances came back to bite them when Barnsley took the lead. The ball was worked to Moore on the left and with no-one to aim at in the middle he floated a ball to the back past, it flicked off Chris Mepham, looped over Daniel Bentley and in to the net off the far post. The striker may claim to have been going for goal but was doing so from an improbable position and found the only way of getting the ball in to the net from where he was via a lucky deflection.
The goal changed the game. Barnsley had stood off Brentford and looked nervous, with their Sky Bet Championship existence on the line, but they suddenly had energy. They harried and chased and forced mistakes. They also started to have the ball in Brentford territory for the first time and looked for a second goal. A long-range effort from Gary Gardner was blocked by Woods before Connor Mahoney escaped on the right and delivered a cross that Moore headed wide at full stretch.
Brentford tried to respond after the goal and Jozefzoon was unable to force home a cross from the left before Canós, who delivered that ball, looped a header over. But The Bees were finding it difficult to play incisive football in Barnsley territory. The hosts were compact and working hard to cut down the space. When Brentford tried to play forward they found a wall of red that was tough to go through or around.
They did have openings before the break but couldn’t find a way through. Mepham had a header blocked from a Macleod free kick and Canós lofted the loose ball over. There was then a golden chance when Canós broke quickly from deep and fed Watkins but Liam Lindsay came across to make a last-ditch tackle. Canós had a shot blocked after weaving in to the box again and Mepham fired the resulting corner wide when it dropped loose.
Barnsley were mainly forced back on the defensive but did have openings of their own. Adam Hamill saw a shot blocked and the resulting corner looped out to Zeki Fryers who lashed it back on the volley with interest but saw it blocked by Mepham. That ensured The Bees only trailed by one at the break and they would have been hoping to turn the game around in the second half. But Barnsley had other ideas.
The home side surged forward at the start of the second period. They added a second goal within six minutes of the re-start and had chances to put the game completely to bed. They swarmed all over Brentford, stopping The Bees from building any sort of rhythm and took control of the game.
The goal came from a corner delivered from the left, McBurnie got up to bounce a header down, it beat a gaggle of defenders and somehow sneaked its way in. Mepham attempted to clear off the line as Lindsay tried to force it in but referee Darren Bond signalled that the ball had crossed the line and awarded the goal. That gave Barnsley a massive hold on the game and they went for more.
McBurnie saw a shot blocked when he got on to a deep cross before Mahoney weaved his way in to the penalty area and let fly with a shot that Bentley saved superbly. The ball, however, bounced free and Moore looked set to seal the game but lifted his shot over from five yards. Moore then fired across the face of goal as Barnsley continued to attack.
Brentford made a series of changes to try and change the flow of the game. Nico Yennaris and Neal Maupay came on just before the hour and the latter soon won a free kick that Jozefzoon curled over the crossbar. Watkins also had a near post shot saved but Barnsley maintained the upper hand. Bentley saved a low shot from the impressive Adam Hamill and the same man then curled just wide. Brad Potts also fired off target from distance.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Kamohelo Mokotjo that Brentford started to regain a modicum of control. They were not at their best, passes went astray and it was difficult for them to make an impact but The Bees were on the front foot and playing in Barnsley territory as the hosts dropped off a little, perhaps happy to hold what they had. Yoann Barbet fired a snapshot just wide after a clever Sawyers pass and a dipping, swerving effort from Mepham was saved a little unconvincingly by Walton.
Watkins then fired across the face of goal before a Barbet cross also failed to get a crucial touch with Yennaris and Jozefzoon arriving. But that was as close as Brentford came. The Bees played in Barnsley territory late on but the home side were compact and hard to break down. They slowed the game down and did what it took to get three points they deserved on the balance of play. It ended Brentford’s hopes but gives them a chance of playing in the Championship next season.
Barnsley: Walton; Yiadom, Pinnock, Lindsay, Fryers; Potts, Gardner; Mahoney (sub Thiam 87 mins), Hamill (sub Moncur 90 mins), McBurnie (sub Cavaré 90 mins); Moore
Subs (not used): Davies, Bradshaw, Mallan, Pearson
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Mepham, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon, Sawyers (sub Mokotjo 73 mins), Macleod (sub Yennaris 59 mins), Canós (sub Maupay 59 mins); Watkins
Subs (not used): Daniels, Bjelland, McEachran, Judge
Bookings: Barbet (82 mins) (seventh of season)
Attendance: 13,137 (1,443 Bees fans)