Brilliant Barnsley kept their Championship survival hopes alive with a courageous victory in last night’s crunch clash with fellow relegation-strugglers Charlton Athletic.
Jean-Yves M’voto and Tom Kennedy could not have timed it better to score their first-ever goals for the Reds as they clawed within two points of hauling themselves out of the relegation zone.
Defeat at the Valley would have seen the Reds’ hopes of avoiding the drop ended.
But M’voto’s first goal for a year and Kennedy’s first since October 2009 was just the tonic for Danny Wilson’s battling side.
Second-half substitute Astrit Ajdarevic pulled a goal back for the hosts in the first of five minutes of injury time, but the Reds held on for a famous win.
It was a frantic and nervous start from both sides, given the significance of the result in the battle to stay up.
The Addicks had the first decent chance on a bitterly-cold evening when midfielder Jordan Cousins blasted wide of the target from a good position in the 11th minute.
Three minutes later Liverpool loanee Ryan McLaughlin, employed as a makeshift midfielder as opposed to his more familiar right-back role, rifled high and wide of the target as the Reds hit the hosts on the counter.
Callum Harriott should have put the home side ahead just before the half-hour mark, but headed wide unmarked at the back post. It was bad miss.
Then skipper Johnnie Jackson went within a whisker of putting the Addicks in front, only to see his left-foot curler fly inches wide ofthe target.
But the Reds hit back with the perfect response by scoring against the run of play.
Winger Dale Jennings whipped in a vicious corner from the left and M’voto powered a diving header into the ground and then into the roof of the net.
At the other end striker Marvin Sordell had a shot deflected into the side netting and also shot over early in the second half.
However, three minutes after the hour mark it was Kennedy who gave the Reds a welcome cushion.
His powerful shot flew past Hamer and put the Reds’ supporters behind the goal into dreamland. They broke into a chorus of “We are staying up”.
Premature maybe, but victory – only their fourth away win of the season – could be pivotal in the hunt to retain their status in the second tier for another season.
Jennings was denied by a smart save from Ben Hamer in the Addicks’ goal, while at the other end Reds’ keeper Luke Steele parried substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad’s shot.
But the Reds held firm to end a run of run three games without a win to leave it all to play for with four games still remaining this term.