Match report: Barnsley 2 Blackpool 0

Chris O'Grady nods in his and Barnsley's second goal.
Chris O'Grady nods in his and Barnsley's second goal.
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Danny Wilson is back in business as he finally registered the first victory of his second spell in charge of Barnsley.

It had taken six attempts to grab what could turn out to be a priceless three points in the quest to avoid relegation, handed to Wilson thanks to a couple of goals from talisman striker Chris O’Grady.

Sadly, the three points still weren’t enough to lift the brave Reds off the foot of the Championship after the majority of their drop rivals also won, but a result like this will do wonders in lifting confidence and morale in the Oakwell camp.

Wilson said: “We fully deserved the result so there isn’t really a feeling of relief.

“We’ve sent a message out to the other teams around us. We’ve shown that we’re not a team that’s going to lie down and accept our fate.

“Of course others down there have won as well, so teams in the middle of the table might start looking over their shoulders now.

“We played with an energy, plenty of spark and pace.

“All the players were outstanding, everyone contributed, but we’ve got to carry on putting in this kind of performance.”

It had been a fortnight since the Reds were last in action and, following the disappointing FA Cup reverse at Coventry’s hands, boss Wilson made three changes to his starting line-up.

Full-back Ryan McLaughlin was in for debut following a loan switch from Liverpool, but fellow new boy Liam Lawrence made only what was a six-strong bench of substitutes.

The reason for that was later put down as an ‘administrative error’. The truth was that Tomasz Cywka’s name was simply missed off the original hand-written teamsheet handed into the match officials, and by the time anyone realised it was too late to make any alterations.

Dale Jennings returned across the middle, while Stoke City loan forward Brek Shea was straight back in after being ineligible for the FA Cup tie.

It wasn’t an earth-shattering first half from either side, but crucially the Reds broke the deadlock - and possibly Blackpool’s spirit after their run of seven defeats and a draw from their previous eight games - seconds before the interval.

Grafter O’Grady turned on a sixpence before playing a through-ball to Stephen Dawson and as the tigerish midfielder tried to nip the ball round Matt Gilks the goalkeeper clumsily dragged him down.

O’Grady stepped up confidently and slotted the penalty high into the net, and immediately the half-time whistle blew.

That was a crucial blow at a perfect time, but there had been earlier chances to open the scoring.

Shea volleyed over from close range, while the impressive Jim O’Brien was denied by a breathtaking double stop by the agile Gilks.

Shortly before the penalty opener, Jacob Mellis ought to have scored, but he drilled a shot straight at the grateful Gilks.

As for the beleaguered Seasiders, their best effort came from the much-heralded Tom Ince, who blotted his copy-book in a lacklustre performance as he blasted over the top from the edge of the box.

The visitors must have received a bit of a tongue-lashing from under-fire boss Paul Ince at the interval as they re-emerged for the second half more than five minutes before the Reds.

And to plunge the visitors further into the mire, Barnsley scored a match-clinching second goal just three minutes after the restart.

This time O’Brien was tricky out on the left, before clipping in a cross which O’Grady charged in to meet with a well-directed header that beat Gilks convincingly.

Barnsley were on their way to victory and there appeared nothing Blackpool could do about it.

They were toothless, seriously lacking creativity, and only substitute Robert Harris went on to trouble Luke Steele, with a shot that had to palmed away to safety in the 80th minute.

Either side of that effort, Mellis came closest to scoring a third Reds goal, but his free-kick whistled inches past the post.

In the end Wilson’s men appeared content to run down the clock on the way to a splendid victory - it’s just a shame there is no opportunity to build on this well-deserved win until Tuesday week when Blackburn are in town.

Ince was criticised by a large number of Blackpool fans during the week for travelling to London to negotiate a potential transfer for his son to Monaco and suffered sustained abuse from the travelling support, to leave his reign looking doomed.

He snubbed the media at the end of the game after another disappointing afternoon.