Reds FT: Boro 3 Barnsley 1 (Reds relegated)

Barnsley's Kelvin Etuhu and Boro's Danny Graham battle for the ball
Barnsley's Kelvin Etuhu and Boro's Danny Graham battle for the ball
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Seventeen years to the day since Barnsley secured their dream promotion to the Premier League under the guidance of Danny Wilson, Barnsley were relegated to the third tier under the same boss with this defeat at the Riverside after leading 1-0.

The Reds needed to win to stand any chance of extending their seven-year stay in the Championship.

The Reds’ faithful had travelled to Boro’ in their thousands and the noise and support prior to kick-off had to be inspiring for the players.

Woodgate’s long punt forward was about to fall to Reach, with Reds’ ‘keeper Steele being forced to charge well out of his area to frantically clear the danger.

There was another scare in the eighth minute. Tomlin played in Graham but again Steele was out like a flash to hack the ball clear just ahead of the former Swansea and current loanee striker from Sunderland.

Reach was next to threaten when he latched onto Butterfield’s smart pass before drilling over from just 12 yards.

At last Barnsley made some inroads and almost scored.

Jennings crossed neatly to the feet of Pedersen, and as he found space to crack in a low shot, it deflected off Gibson, forcing ‘keeper Konstantopoulos to swiftly change direction to make the save.

Former Red Butterfield - booed by the visiting fans every time he touched the ball - smashed a shot harmlessly over but Graham was to come much closer.He was allowed too much time and space before striking a shot which whistled inches over.

A deep, looping cross from Kennedy was met by M’voto as the giant centre-back headed into the side-netting from an acute angle.

The vociferous travelling army almost had a breakthrough to celebrate on the half-hour mark.

The right flank suddenly opened up for McLaughlin, but with Konstantopoulos the only opponent to beat, the youngster fired weakly into the ‘keeper’s grateful arms.

Graham fired just wide, then spun past M’voto before seeing a superb strike palmed away by Steele. The rebound ricocheted into Reach’s path, but his low, driven effort flashed across goal and narrowly past the far post. Adomah saw a shot blocked on the line by the brave Kennedy, then Butterfield forced Steele into a flying save as his powerful shot was beaten away spectacularly.

There were no half-time changes to the line-ups - Woodgate had limped off during the first half - but it was the Reds who created the first chance of the second period.

McLaughlin charged purposefully down the flank again, though his shot was poor once he’d reached the Boro’ box and Konstantopoulos saved comfortably.

Steele was quickly forced into action at the other end, however. He had to dive full length to tip a Graham daisy-cutter round the post.

Just when it was beginning to look like curtains for Barnsley, they scored in the 53rd minute.

And the Championship survival dream was right back on as M’VOTO side-footed home as he darted in to meet Kennedy’s out-swinging corner-kick.

Unbelievably, the celebrations hadn’t even died down by the time Boro’ levelled.

Just a minute later TOMLIN made it 1-1 as he cracked home from 25 yards, so the Reds were back to square one in an instant.

Wilson sent on Proschwitz and O’Brien but time was against the Reds with results elsewhere not looking favourable.

O’Brien was quickly into the fray, firing over from 25 yards.

Proschwitz tested the ‘keeper, who had to grasp a piledriver at the second attempt, before the big striker volleyed wide.

M’voto’s cross struck the top of the crossbar then headed just over the topbefore O’Grady agonisingly just missing a driven cross from Proschwitz.

There were claims for an 85th-minute penalty when O’Grady looked to have been tugged by sub Ayala - referee Mr Drysdale was unmoved.

But the Reds’ relegation fate was sealed in the 90th minute. Steele initially saved Adomah’s effort, but as GRAHAM lashed home the winner, he sent Barnsley spiralling into League One.

TOMLIN’S 93rd-minute strike from eight yards simply compounded the misery.