IF THIS does turn out to be a send-off, then it was a perfect one for Reds caretaker manager David Flitcroft.
Nineteen-year-old substitute Danny Rose sealed Barnsley’s FA Cup passage thanks to his superbly-taken late poacher’s effort, leaving Flitcroft to at least be able to sign off with a smile.
After watching his Barnsley grafters grind down Burnley after the opposition had been reduced to 10 men before half-time, Flitcroft said: “I’m made up for the players - they deserved that result.
“They’ve worked so hard ever since I’ve been here, and again they’ve shown that they have got that fighting spirit that they will undoubtedly need between now and the end of the season.
“We were on the back foot a bit after we scored and we do need to maybe look at adding a bit more calmness to the game, but we’ve dug in and in the end we’ve been worthy winners.
“I’ve always felt a duty of care towards these players, but, whether I remain here or not, that will stay with me wherever I end up.
“These players need to continue with that enthusiasm to give themselves a real chance of staying up.”
Flitcroft made just the single change to his Reds starting line-up - and that came up front, with Marlon Harewood being rewarded for his goal-scoring substitute appearance at Peterborough United on New Year’s Day.
Harewood came in for leading scorer Craig Davies, missing altogether ahead of what appears an imminent switch to Bolton Wanderers this week.
As well as a general lift in spirits, an FA Cup fillip was probably overdue for the Reds going into Saturday’s game.
Ahead of this - one of four all-Championship ties in the third round - the South Yorkshire club had lost all five of their FA Cup encounters since that never-to-be-forgotten semi-final date at Wembley against Cardiff City back in April, 2008.
The first half wasn’t great, with the visitors bossing proceedings in the opening quarter of the game.
Sam Vokes fired narrowly wide, then centre-back Michael Duff nodded over from just six yards out.
Midfielder David Perkins tried his luck from distance a couple of times before the game swung dramatically in the Reds’ favour nine minutes before the interval.
Having already picked up a yellow card following an altercation with Harewood, ex-Doncaster favourite Brian Stock saw himself ordered off after he tugged back winger Jim O’Brien.
There was little protest at the time as Stock was even afforded appreciative applause by the travelling faithful as he headed towards the tunnel, but for Barnsley it proved to be a timely lift.
Immediately they sensed a great opportunity to book their place in the fourth round, with Perkins curling another great effort inches wide and then wing-back Scott Golbourne somehow scooping a shot over the top from eight yards after excellent work from Chris Dagnall.
The Clarets offered precious little going forward in the second half, but as the game edged deeper and deeper towards the end the Reds just couldn’t find a quality finish.
The mightily hard-working Stephen Dawson went close twice and the unmarked O’Brien horribly wasted a chance from 15 yards with only keeper Brian Jensen to beat. It was looking as though Burnley were going to hang on for a precious replay.
However, despite being on the field for only five minutes after replacing the impressive Dagnall, youngster Rose pounced to snare his first senior goal after only two starts and six previous appearances from the bench.
Only four minutes remained when Golbourne swung a cross towards the back post. Jensen misjudged the flight of the ball, parried on to his crossbar and, as the ball bounced out, it fell ideally for Rose’s to lash home into the roof of the net from close range.
The relief was tangible around Oakwell and, despite a frantic effort in the dying minutes, Burnley couldn’t find an equaliser.
The Reds faithful could finally celebrate an FA Cup win.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche was less than happy with Stock’s dismissal and moaned: “We were in control of the game until the sending-off. Brian’s first booking should never have been. I’ve looked back at it and I just can’t fathom out why he’s been shown the yellow.
“I’ve no complaints about the second one - none at all - but we should still have been 11 versus 11 and if it had stayed like that we’d have gone on to win the game.”