Match analysis: Barnsley 1 Coventry City 0

George Waring celebrates after putting Barnsley ahead at Oakwell.''Picture by Dean Atkins
George Waring celebrates after putting Barnsley ahead at Oakwell.''Picture by Dean Atkins
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Battling Barnsley are back in business after a fourth straight League One win courtesy of victory over Coventry City last night.

And new boss Lee Johnson might well be wondering whether the start to his Oakwell can get any better?

George Waring celebrates after putting them Barnsley ahead at Oakwell''. Picture by Dean Atkins.

George Waring celebrates after putting them Barnsley ahead at Oakwell''. Picture by Dean Atkins.

Having nearly been sucked into an unwanted relegation scrap just under a month ago, the South Yorkshire outfit are now pushing hard to break into the play-offs having picked up a maximum 12 points in their last four outings.

George Waring’s solitary 56th minute goal saw the resurgent Reds register four successive wins for the first time in over two years.

And it was also the first time in over a decade that the club have managed four league clean sheets.

Victory in his opening away match against Gillingham was the perfect start for Johnson having taken over from former boss Danny Wilson.

But a home win over the Sky Blues last night was especially sweet as the Reds climbed two places to 10th in the table to complete, what has been, a remarkable turnaround in this most fascinating of divisions.

They are now within touching distance of the play-offs, two points away from breaking into the sought-after top six.

Johnson resisted the temptation to change his starting line-up having guided the Reds to a battling 1-0 away win over the Gills on Saturday in a successful first game in charge.

But there was no place in the squad for Leroy Lita, with the club having confirmed that the out-of-favour striker had joined Notts County on loan for the remainder of the season.

Young midfielder George Williams and striker Kane Hemmings missed out, with leading scorer Sam Winnall back on the bench having recovered from a troublesome hamstring injury, while defender Jean-Yves M’voto returned from a one-match ban and winger Dale Jennings was included.

Meanwhile Coventry lined up with no fewer than four former players in the shape of fans’ favourite Jim O’Brien, Marcus Tudgay, Nick Proschwitz and Frank Nouble.

However, both sides started sluggishgly despite both having boasted three-game unbeaten runs before kick-off.

The first chance of the contest fell to skipper Martin Cranie against his former club.

Cranie met Conor Hourihane’s inswinging corner at the back post, the defender directed his header wide of the target.

A heavy touch from right-back Mason Holgate soon after allowed O’Brien to pinch the ball in a dangerous area and he teed up Tudgay who struck the back of the right post.

Hourihane, searching for his first goal since January, blasted well over from distance with an ambitious shot and then curled a left-foot free-kick over from distance three minutes before the break.

The Reds started brightly after the break and Waring headed agonisingly over from a Hourihane corner.

Manchester United loan midfielder Ben Pearson then forced a good low stop from Lee Burge two minutes later with his thunderous right-foot drive.

The opener eventually came just before the hour mark when Hourihane’s free-kick was headed into the floor by Waring and looped Burge to nestle in the far corner.

Blackburn Rovers loanee John O’Sullivan forced a good low block from Burge at his near post and then fired over with a powerful right-foot effort

Pearson cleared off his own line a dramatic finish but the Reds kept their promising run going.

Barnsley: Davies, Holgate, Nyatanga, Cranie (C), Smith, O’Sullivan (Bailey 81), Pearson, Scowen, Hourihane, Lalkovic (Berry 81), Waring (Winnall 88).

Subs: Dibble, M’Voto, Jennings, Oates.

Coventry: Burge, Fleck, O’Brien, Samuel, Barton (Turgott 75), Odelusi (Nouble 62), Phillips, Tudgay (Proschwitz 59), Martin, Pennington, Stokes.

Subs: Charles-Cook, Webster, Finch, Thomas.