Match Report: Birmingham 0 Barnsley 5

Craig Davies celebrates his 4th goal with provider Chris Dagnall.
Craig Davies celebrates his 4th goal with provider Chris Dagnall.
0
Have your say

The second half in particular saw the Reds, live on Sky TV, deliver the kind of attacking performance that will send shivers down the backs of many of their Championship rivals as everything they touched turned to gold.

And in the heroic Craig Davies they paraded a player who bagged an amazing four-goal haul, the likes of which the Reds fans could only dream of during their previous 13 Championship away games without a win.

Maybe the result will prove to be something of a watershed for the previously travel-sick Reds. For proud manager Keith Hill it was a well-deserved reward for plenty of hard work and progression since he took over the managerial reigns from Mark Robins in the summer of 2011.

“We’ve learned a hell of a lot since I came to Barnsley, and we’ll continue to do that,” said Hill.

“Last season was a foundation season for us, but we’ll continue trying to educate the players.

“Today was the culmination of a lot of hard work from everyone.”

Again boss Hill kept faith with the vast majority of his team for the trip to the Midlands.

The only change to the Reds’ starting line-up following last Tuesday night’s scarcely-deserved defeat at Blackburn was an enforced one.

Sought-after teenager John Stones was out after limping out of the Ewood Park clash with an ankle injury, so in stepped newly-signed Tom Kennedy for his full Barnsley debut after signing on a short-term deal just 24 hours earlier.

Former Rochdale and Leicester defender Kennedy normally plays left-back, but on Saturday slotted straight on the right side of the back four as a direct replacement for Stones.

Hill’s hungry charges monopolised possession and the chances so much the Birmingham faithful dished out huge ironic cheers when their stuttering team created their first opportunity after 43 minutes.

Unfortu

nately, the visitors couldn’t find that finishing touch in the opening half, with their best chance coming eight minutes before the interval when Chris Dagnall fluffed a great one-on-one opportunity.

The former Scunthorpe striker was accurately played in by Jacob Mellis, only to see his low show somehow beaten away by the legs of England stopper Jack Butland.

Dagnall had threatened inside the opening three minutes when Blues skipper Gary Caldwell nipped in to beat away Mellis’s smart cross from the right.

Playing some eye-catching, crisp football, the Reds saw Mellis drive a shot just wide and then Dagnall let fly

from 20 yards, with Butland this time parrying the ball behind for a corner.

Davies saw an effort deflect off Pablo Ibanez and into the grateful arms of Butland, so when Wade Elliott did force Reds keeper Ben Alnwick into a save two minutes before the break those cheers from the home faithful were almost as loud as if they had scored a goal.

The deadlock was finally broken just five minutes after the restart, with Dagnall dummying Mellis’s corner-kick into the danger zone before the

ball reached Stephen Foster at the far post. Unmarked, the Reds centre-back slotted home to send the travelling fans into raptures.

Three minutes later the Reds doubled their lead as Davies got his incredible scoring feat up and running by steering Mellis’s square pass past Butland.

Barnsley sniffed blood, and four minutes later only the woodwork got in the

way as grafter Dagnall curled an exquisite shot on to the post.

Mellis was the provider of Davies’s second, as the striker made it 3-0 on the hour mark after skipping delightfully past Ibanez.

Davies then racked up his hat-trick goal, this time the tireless Tomasz Cywka the provider as the ball was tucked easily past Butland.

Four-nil away from home and cruising - but still Barnsley weren’t finished.

With 17 minutes left Davies’s dream day was wrapped up with the easiest of goals as he simply nodded home Dagnall’s cross from close range to make it an unforgettable evening in the Midlands.