Barnsley 1, Burton Albon 0: Reds are up and running after going for a Burton

Conor Hourihane scores for Barnsley from the penalty spot.
Conor Hourihane scores for Barnsley from the penalty spot.
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Barnsley are off and running in League One!

It proved to be a productive day at the office for the Reds as they triumphed on their first home game of the season.

Hourihane celebrates his winner

Hourihane celebrates his winner

And victory was extra sweet having earlier in the day secured the capture of former England under-20 international Reece Wabara.

Defender Wabara has penned a short-term contract with the club until December 31, a welcome addition with rising star Mason Holgate having signed for Everton last week.

It was left to last season’s leading scorer, Conor Hourihane, to hop off the bench to bag the Reds’ maiden maximum points haul from the spot after Josh Scowen had been upended in the box.

This was far from a vintage performance, a point later acknowledged by boss Lee Johnson, but the result is what counts and in Wabara, they now have a versatile and very capable former Manchester City and Doncaster Rovers defender to add to their squad ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Millwall.

Sam Winnall clashes with Jon McLaughlin Picture Dean Atkins

Sam Winnall clashes with Jon McLaughlin Picture Dean Atkins

Bromsgrove-born Wabara, 23, left Rovers in the summer when manager Paul Dickov opted against extending his Keepmoat contract.

And Johnson is delighted to have got his man, especially with the transfer deadline approaching.

Johnson said of his new man: “Reece has shown a tremendous commitment to come to this club.

“It’s fair to say that in terms of his contract - he wants to come and prove himself.

Reds manager Lee Johnson

Reds manager Lee Johnson

“I may not have entertained him previously due to certain elements of his lifestyle, but now I’m convinced by him.

“He’s an intelligent boy, that’s never been in doubt, he’s a good player and I’m really looking forward to working with him now.

“Football has told him now that his real ability and quality can flourish here.

“Don’t forget, he’s captained England at youth level, and he has had a lot of interest from some top clubs.

“He was given a good contract by Manchester City at a young age, and it didn’t quite work out for him there.

“Sometimes you can get caught into believing that hype, but now we’ve got a raw and honest Reece Wabara again and hopefully we can make him the best player possible.”

A delighted Wabara said: “I can’t wait to get cracking. It’s a great club and Lee Johnson has exciting plans which I’m keen to be a part of.”

Despite the exhausting 7-6 Capital One Cup penalty shoot-out win at Scunthorpe United in midweek, boss Johnson made just two changes to his starting line-up for the Oakwell league opener.

Goalkeeper Adam Davies returned between the sticks at the expense of loan shot-stoper Nick Townsend, while up top Sam Winnall was back in business, with Bolton loan hit-man Conor Wilkinson having to settle for a place on the bench.

Albion had enjoyed a terrific start to the campaign courtesy of back-to-back wins, but boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made wholesale changes to his line-up despite the superb midweek Capital one Cup victory at Bolton.

And it was the Brewers who went on to enjoy the better of a goalless opening period.

The Reds opened brightly enough with Scowen and the lively Joe Rothwell going close, but Hasselbaink’s men soon found their rhythm and created some gilt-edged opportunities.

Stuart Beavon broke through and forced the recalled Davies into a super low stop, before Dutch ace Abdenasser El Khayati began to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

He brilliantly teed up Beavon, though again Davies came to the rescue with a superb save.

The Dutchman was then denied what looked a certain opening goal when Davies dived full length to keep out another accurate strike from 20 yards.

Before the interval El Khayati pounced on a howler from skipper Alfie Mawson before smashing another shot wide as the Brewers ended the first half on top.

Initially the theme continued after the restart as Phil Edwards headed narrowly over for the Brewers, but that man Hourihane made a big difference after he entered the fray as Rothwell’s replacement.

After forcing Jon McLaughlin into a good stop five minutes after coming on, he then confidently slotted home the winning strike from the spot after Damien McCrory had clumsily felled Scowen in the box.

The goal certainly loosened the shackles. With a lead to protect the Reds battled hard certainly but sub Timmy Thiele did crash a stunning shot against the crossbar from 25 yards as the Brewers came within a whisker of snatching a share of the spoils.

The hosts’ undoubted star man, Ben Pearson, came closest to doubling the lead as his right-footed strike was blocked as his side were looking to close the game out.

“Make no mistake, Burton are a very difficult team to break down,” said a relieved Johnson in his post-match media briefing.

“We were a bit loose at times, but generally we were solid and that’s the key.

“We have to be honest to the fans, though, we have to improve.

“The atmosphere was a bit quiet, but it’s the chicken and the egg scenario. Is it up to us to get the fans going or should they try and get us going?

“In fairness here, we didn’t get them going, but at times we did see good patterns of play. We just have to make sure that when we did make our way up the pitch, we pick people out.”

Barnsley (5-3-2): Davies 6; Bree 7, Roberts 6, Nyatanga 8, Mawson 6, Smith 4 (Crowley 46, 6); Pearson 9, Rothwell 5 (Hourihane 52, 7), Scowen 7; Winnall 8 (Wilkinson 87, 6), Watkins 6. Subs not used: Townsend, R Williams, Digby, G Williams.

Burton (4-4-2): McLaughlin 7; Edwards 5, Cansdell-Sherriff 6, Mousinho 7, McCrory 5; Akins 5 Binnom-Williams 63, 5), Weir 4 (Palmer 78, 6), Naylor 7, Duffy 7; El Khayati 8, Beavon 6 (Thiele 78, 5). Subs not used: Matthews, Reilly, Butcher, O’Connor.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

Attendance: 8,583