Barnsley 3 Bury 0 - match analysis: Lee who? It’s carry on Reds with seventh league win on trot

Barnsleys Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring the second against Bury.Photo:  Dean Atkins / deanatkinsphotography.co.uk
Barnsleys Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring the second against Bury.Photo: Dean Atkins / deanatkinsphotography.co.uk
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Barnsley showed there is life after Lee Johnson with a terrific seventh successive league victory.

Goals from Marley Watkins, Sam Winnall and Adam Hammill ensured the Reds remain unbeaten since the turn of the year and moved within five points of the League One play-off spots.

It was a happy end to a whirlwind week that saw the club reach Wembley but also lose their manager.

Johnson’s departure to Championship side Bristol City, which was confirmed by the club on Saturday, dominated pre-match talk ahead of Bury’s visit.

Johnson was just three weeks short of a year in the job but the chance to return to Ashton Gate, where he spent six years as a player, was too good to turn down for the 34-year-old.

Tommy Wright and Paul Heckingbottom were placed in charge as caretakers and certainly steadied the ship with this maiden win.

Heckingbottom said afterwards that he and Wright are just focusing on the job in hand and refused to be drawn on speculation about taking the reins on a permanent basis.

“I don’t know if the job is available and I’m just carrying on as normal,” he said.

“A lot has been crammed in to the last few days. We were told on Friday we needed to prepare the team for training.

“We had roles within the set-up so it’s not been a big adjustment for the players. Me and Tommy are just doing the same roles.

“It’s just a case of keeping this run going. We’re just focused on the next game. It’s not about me or Tommy. It’s our roles to maintain the standards.”

The duo kept faith with the side that overcame Fleetwood on Thursday to book a Wembley date on April 3 for the JP Trophy final against Oxford

Sheffield-born Shaun Tuton, who arrived on transfer deadline day from non-league FC Halifax Town, was a sub.

Hammill, who was outstanding all afternoon, saw a couple of chances go begging in the early exchanges before the Reds eventually went 1-0 up on 19 minutes.

Watkins scored it when he chased the ball down forcing Bury stopper Ian Lawlor to retreat into his net before coolly slotting the ball in off the left-hand post.

It was a composed finish from Watkins and set the tone for the Reds’ afternoon.

Winnall should have made it 2-0 just after but planted a free header over the bar just inside the box.

Leon Clarke rifled an effort over the bar just before the half-hour as Bury showed signs of a comeback while former Red John O’Sullivan whistled a shot just wide.

The hosts came out firing for the second half and Aidy White almost capped off a fine move on 50 minutes after Hammill had done brilliantly to work the ball out of a tight spot in the corner, but the former Leeds man rocketed a shot over. But they didn’t have to wait too long for their second.

On 56 minutes Winnall coolly slotted home inside the box for his 17th strike of the campaign after good work from Conor Hourihane.

Winnall is in excellent for and Reds’ fans will be praying he can continue it for as long as possible.

Clarke wasted another glorious chance for the visitors just after the hour mark when his free header went wide of the target with the goal gaping and with that Bury’s hopes of getting anything all but faded.

The Reds then killed the game off when they scored a brilliant third with a move that involved half the team.

James Bree started the move and the team worked the ball form back to front before Hammill finished in style by lashing the ball home.

Sub Josh Scowen almost grabbed a fourth late on but his effort was parried away by Lawlor as the Reds ran out convincing winners.

Heckingbottom added: “It was a tremendous performance. We emphasised before the game that application had to be spot-on and it was.

“The lads got their reward for all their hard work as the game wore on. We got stronger and got the goals at good times.

“The lads could enjoy themselves in the last 15 minutes. We’re on a good run and the players deserve the credit because they’ve stuck together when it’s been difficult.”

Shakers’ chief and former Oakwell boss David Flitcroft said his side were not at the races and praised the Reds’ performance.

He said: “ We weren’t clinical enough and Barnsley are a good side. You’ve got to be at your very best and we weren’t.”

Barnsley: Davies 6, Bree 6, Long 6, Mawson 7, White 7, Brownhill 6, Isgrove (Fletcher 65, 5) , Hammill 9 (Tuton 85), Hourihane 6, Watkins 7, Winnall 8 (Scowen 77, 6). Subs not used: Townsend, Roberts, McCourt, Williams

Booked: Brownhill

Bury: Lawlor 5, P Clarke 4, Mayor 4, O’Sullivan 5 (Jones 49, 6), Brown 5 (Miller 60, 5), Cameron 5, Soares 6, L Clarke 6, Pope 6, Pugh 5 (Mellis 60, 4), Hussey 6. Subs not used: Burgess, Riley, Tutte, Sedgwick

Booked: Mayor, P Clarke

Ref: Andy Haines

Att: 9,443.