In-form Barnsley zoomed into the top half of Sky Bet League One as Lee Johnson’s master plan came up trumps at Swindon.
The resurgent Reds’ incredible winning streak goes on as they made it SIX straight victories at the County Ground, with Leeds United target Sam Winnall bagging the all-important only goal of the game just a minute from time.
Of course Reds boss Johnson will continue to do everything in his power to prevent any threat of Winnall leaving Oakwell before tonight’s transfer deadline. He is a precious commodity at present as Saturday’s winner in Wiltshire was his ninth goal in just six games, and his 16th of the season.
Tactics appear to have won the day in this game, however.
Johnson said: “I think when you come to Swindon, you have to set out a plan.
“You have to make sure they can’t break the lines and get in between you. They rarely did.
“At half-time we came in and we’d had 10 shots to their one. Really we should have taken one.
“In the end, though, I’m delighted for the players because they put in a good shift in what was their third game in a week.
“It was another tough game, but our organisation was good and we earned ourselves an opportunity for Sam to score the winner.
“James Bree was superb, Josh Brownhill had a great game and Conor Hourihane marshalled the midfield.
“The back-line were rarely threatened and so I’m a happy gaffer.”
There were no surprises when news emerged prior to kick-off that boss Johnson had named an unchanged starting line-up.
Centre-back Alfie Mawson had clearly recovered from the groin injury that saw him replaced early in the midweek win at Bradford.
New signing Jak McCourt, the midfielder snapped up for an undisclosed fee on Friday from Leicester, was named among the substitutes.
Swindon caretaker boss Luke Williams made one alteration in the wake of his side’s draw at Sheffield United a week earlier.
Skipper Nathan Thompson was now injury-free and slotted back into the midfield in place of Anton Rodgers.
The in-form Reds went on to boss the first period in which the home side did not register one attempt on target.
The visitors signalled their intentions early in the game as that man Winnall - bursting with confidence as you would expect - tried his luck from well over 30 yards. This time the ball drifted well wide.
Lloyd Isgrove crossed in for Marley Watkins - the match-winner at Bradford - who saw a strike well saved by Lawrence Vigouroux, while Hourihane curled a precise free-kick inches over the top from just outside the box.
In between those efforts Swindon did threaten when Reds’ ‘keeper Adam Davies was forced to charge out of his goal to thwart Nicky Ajose, but that was the hosts’ only real chance of a frustrating opening period for the home support.
Brownhill went close for the Reds as he also tried his luck from a free-kick, but arguably the best chance of the opening half came in stoppage-time.
Hourihane looked odds-on to score when he raced clear of the Swindon back-line, but his shot was disappointing and Vigouroux was able to block.
Swindon provided more of a challenge in the second half, though it was the Reds who opened brightest again.
Hourihane saw a shot blocked, and as the ball dropped down kindly for Winnall, he headed wide when it looked easier to score.
Jonathan Obika looked a threat for the Robins and he tested Davies with a smart volleyed effort, but at the other end the Reds went close again through substitute Josh Scowen.
The little man rose well to meet a great cross from George Williams, only to nod the ball narrowly wide of the target.
Back came Swindon and Obika planted a header off target as he met Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill’s in-swinging corner-kick, but this was always destined to be Barnsley’s day and they struck the precious winning goal just a minute before the end of the 90.
Scowen - looking back to his best following almost three months out through injury recently - delivered a great cross which Isgrove left for Winnall, who gobbled up his big chance with ease as he fired home from seven yards.
Cue the wild celebrations once again and the Reds had done it again.
There was acute disappointment for Swindon chief Luke Williams, who suffered his first defeat since taking temporary charge.
He groaned: “We’ve got to learn to be more aggressive, particularly when we’re at home. “We’ve conceded too many goals here recently and that’s something we need to address.”
SWINDON (4-4-2): Vigouroux 7; Barry 4 (Brophy 46, 5), Branco 5, Turnbull 7, Ormonde-Ottewill 7; Doughty 6, Kasim 6, Robert 5 (Balmy 77, 5), Thompson 7; Ajose 6 (Smith 77, 4), Obika 8. Subs not used: Belford, Rodgers, Landolo, Hylton.
BOOKED: Doughty (34), Balmy (90).
BARNSLEY (4-4-2): Davies 7; Bree 6, Long 8, Mawson 7, G Williams 8; Isgrove 8, Brownhill 6, Hourihane 8, Watkins 6; Fletcher 6 (Scowen 68, 7), Winnall 9. Subs not used: Townsend, Roberts, McCourt, Khan, Templeton, H White.
GOAL: Winnall 89
BOOKED: Hourihane (76), Isgrove (90).
REF: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).