Reds FT: Barnsley 1 Coventry 2

Jim O'Brien celebrates after putting Barnsley ahead
Jim O'Brien celebrates after putting Barnsley ahead
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Barnsley crashed out of the FA Cup at home to League One’s form side and top scorers Coventry City.

Coventry arrived bang in form in League One, looking a decent bet for a play-off push despite their points deduction.

Another three at Millmoor the other day took their goals tally to 52 - the highest in the third tier - so the Reds’ defence simply had to be on their mettle.

It was a quiet opening but the visiting fans livened up proceedings by chanting ‘it’s just like watching Brazil’ at their team, who were kitted out in yellow shirts and blue shorts.

Steele had to charge off his line to clear from the advancing Slager, and Coventry were looking confident.

The opening 10 minutes had seen little goalmouth action from a Reds point of view - even when Cywka swung a decent cross into the box, O’Grady was adjudged offside.

Mellis caught sight of the Coventry goal in the 15th minute, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, in charged City defender Christie to make a timely saving challenge.

O’Brien tried his luck from 25 yards, only for the well-struck shot to drift harmlessly wide.

At the other end the visitors came close when Clarke volleyed straight at Steele from close range after Daniels’ cross wasn’t cleared.

The Reds broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with a simply-worked strike, neatly finished. M’voto lifted a long through-ball towards the heart of the defence, where it was met by O’BRIEN, who coolly lifted an effort over Murphy and into the gaping goal.

Wilson’s men nearly doubled their lead when Cywka thumped in a superb free-kick strike from 30 yards that ‘keeper Murphy had to dive across brilliantly to save.

The woodwork came to Coventry’s rescue when a loose ball fell to Cywka 25 yards out. He curled an exquisite shot over Murphy which struck the far post and wa cleared. Three yellow cards were dished out in rapid succession and the hosts continued to press

Coventry ‘keeper Murphy again had to be alert to keep out O’Grady, as the burly striker couldn’t quite reach Perkins’ measured through-ball.

HALF-TIME

Barnsley................. 1

Coventry................. 0

There were no changes from either manager at the break, with Wilson clearly content with his side’s sterling effort during an impressive first period.

The Reds created the first chance of the second half when Perkins flung over a cross from the right flank that eventually reached Cywka after being deflected, but the lively Pole could only head an effort into the side-netting.

It hadn’t been a classic as the game edged toward the hour mark, but Barnsley has been resilient so far and prospects looked good.

Slager found space and cracked in a 20-yard effort for the visitors, but Steele was comfortable making the save.

It was a similar story a minute later when Daniels was denied.

The Reds continued to hold Coventry at arm’s length, despite the frustration from the visiting fans, and next to go close was O’Brien.

Looking to add to his earlier second goal of the campaign, he fizzed in a shot from an acute angle that only narrowly cleared the bar.

As the Reds continued to press and Coventry were beginning to wilt, Perkins then took aim from the edge of the box, with Murphy only managing to stop the venomous effort at the second attempt.

Wilson’s battlers just needed that second goal to help steady the nerves.

There was a mighty scare for the Reds with 20 minutes remaining.

Baker’s corner wasn’t cleared, and as the ball dropped invitingly for the normally lethal Clarke, he swivelled before hammering in a shot which struck the bar and flew behind.

Coventry finally gained reward as they levelled with just 13 minutes to go. Baker’s measured through-ball found MOUSSA and the midfielder steadied himself well before crashing a shot past Steele as he charged into the box.

The equaliser gave Coventry a big lift, and they went on to bag a stunning victory in the 89th minute when CLARKE latched onto a pass from Christie and fired past Steele for his 18th goal of the season.