Match Report: Barnsley 2 Huddersfield 1

Marcus Pedersen scoring on his first full Championship appearance
Marcus Pedersen scoring on his first full Championship appearance
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Dave Flitcroft demanded more from his under-achieving Barnsley players on Saturday - and he got it.

The Reds produced a storming first-half performance in a feisty Yorkshire derby which saw strike partners Chris O’Grady and Marcus Pedersen bag the goals which earned a desperately-needed first victory of the season.

Some people may have feared the worst ahead of the visit of the in-form Terriers, and clearly Flitcroft hadn’t been too impressed as he emphasised to some of his players in a strongly-worded column in the match programme.

But his players responded in style and were excellent value for the three points against a free-scoring side led by ex-Reds boss Mark Robins.

After presiding over a win which took Barnsley off the bottom and up to 20th place in the Championship table, a relieved Flitcroft said: “I wanted a more up-tempo performance because I know that when we produce that we can be a match for anyone in this division. In the first half we showed that.

“We had a plan from the outset and I knew we had to stick to it. We did, and hopefully if we keep on playing like this we’ll win enough games to stay competitive.

“It’s about improving standards all the time, because that helps with the confidence.”

The Reds might have gone into the game on the back of two five-goal thumpings inside a week, but boss Flitcroft resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up.

In fact there were only three, with the now suspension-free Jean-Yves M’Voto coming back at the heart of the defence in place of Jim McNulty.

David Perkins shook off a dead leg to take his place back in the heart of the midfeild in place of Jacob Mellis, while following the surprise departure of Scott Golbourne to League One Wolves, in stepped teenager Reuben Noble-Lazarus for his first start of the season in a wing-back role.

Forty-one-year-old Mike Pollitt kept his place between the sticks, at the expense of Luke Steele, who again had to be content with a place on the bench.

That little bit of patience clearly paid off for Flitcroft, as his team produced a dominant first-half performance which belied their lowly position.

O’Grady - who is already proving to be something of a talisman this term - had already gone close, before he did break the deadlock after just seven minutes.

Scott Wiseman crossed in from the right flank, Pedersen rather inadvertently touched the ball to O’Grady and the former Owls hitman pounced superbly to drill home a low shot into the corner of Alex Smithies’ net from 15 yards.

O’Grady then curled a sweetly-struck shot just beyond the crossbar as the Terriers - roared on by a 3,000-strong travelling army of fans - were distinctly second best in the opening quarter.

In fact it was the 21st minute before the visitors threatened, with Oliver Norwood curling a shot wide.

A piece of top-quality finishing handed the Reds a two-goal advantage just past the half-hour mark.

Tom Kennedy swung in a cross aimed at Pedersen who was 15 yards from goal.

The Norwegian striker - making his first Championship start - took the ball down instantly before turning on a sixpence and driving an unstoppable shot low into the corner with Smithies nowhere to be seen.

That wonderful strike handed Barnsley a crucial two-goal cushion which they were not to let slip.

Huddersfield - who had won four and drawn one since an opening-day defeat at Nottingham Forest - eventually replied just before the hour mark.

Danger-man James Vaughan, who already had seven goals to his name so far this term, made it eight as he latched on to Adam Clayton’s measured through-ball and slid a neat, low shot past the outstretched arm of Pollitt.

Briefly the visitors were lifted and minutes later Vaughan volleyed straight at Pollitt when he ought to have done much better, but after that the gutsy Reds defended stoutly and comfortably held on for that precious first win.

With Reds fans still biting their nails deep into stoppage-time, giant defender M’Voto then missed a great chance to score a rare goal and wrap up a terrific victory in quite astonishing style.

With keeper Smithies up for a last-gasp Adam Hammill corner-kick, the Terriers were desperately open at the back as the ball floated over everyone and clear at the far side of the penalty box.

The Frenchman found himself all on his own charging clear with the ball, and with the goal gaping yet still some 30 yards out, he could only fire a shot wide as he slumped almost exhausted onto the Oakwell turf.

It didn’t matter as referee Mr Mason immediately blew his full-time whistle, but it appears M’Voto was frustrated as well as elated after playing his part in such a crucial victory.

Flitcroft said: “That was mad at the end, but Jean-Yves is gutted he didn’t score.

“He’s going crazy back there, but he was terrific all day so he shouldn’t beat himself up about that miss at the end.”