Brentford 0 Barnsley 2: Heckingbottom delight as Barnsley end winless run
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom was a relieved man after his team's worrying run of six games without a win came to an end.
The Reds secured a comfortable 2-0 Championship win at Brentford in the end.
Goals in either half from Adam Armstrong and Sam Winnall sealed the much-need maximum points haul, against a Bees side who had been formidable opposition on their own patch so far this term.
“I’m really pleased,” beamed Heckingbottom. “It’s what we’ve been after for a few games now.
“We’ve been performing well in games, but not getting our rewards.
“There were fewer errors and the decision-making was much better.
“It’s been easy to see what’s been going wrong. The eight goals we’ve conceded during our recent run have been down to things we did wrong.
“We put that right at Brentford and got what we deserved.
“Brentford had only conceded two goals at home this season. They are a good side who are good with the ball, but we came with a game-plan and executed it perfectly.”
Adam Armstrong, recalled to the side at Griffin Park, tucked home after half-an-hour after meeting a perfectly-weighted knock-down from Marley Watkins.
Winnall fired in a rebound midway through the second period after Ryan Kent’s strike had rebounded out off a post.
Maxime Colin struck the bar for the Bees late on, but the Reds were comfortable winners and moved up to 12th place in the table.
CONOR CAPS MILESTONE
How fitting wit was that Conor Hourihane should celebrate his 100th league appearance in a Barnsley shirt with such an impressive performance in a crucial Championship victory.
Club skipper Hourihane (25) signed for the Reds in the summer of 2014, and has since played a massive role in the resurgence and success enjoyed by the Oakwell faithful.
Again on Saturday at Griffin Park, he ran the midfield show for the visitors, causing the Bees real headaches with his precise and at times devastating setpiece deliveries.
Since joining Barnsley from Plymouth on a free transfer, the hugely talented Irishman has now contributed 28 goals to the cause, from 121 outings in all competitions - that’s a terrific return for a non-striker.
His value to Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom is unknown, but the Reds’ faithful will be hoping he sticks around for quite a few more years yet.
STRENGTH IN DEPTH
Squad strength in depth clearly played a part in Barnsley’s morale-boosting victory.
Boss Heckingbottom drafted in a number of new faces in the summer, and collectively the Reds squad are all digging in - particularly as the visitors secured the three points after losing five of their previous six games.
However injuries are beginning to take their toll - the latest suffered by defender Marc Roberts and front-man Tom Bradshaw - but those tasked to step in impressed.
Heckingbottom said: “Marc Roberts’ hamstring kept him out and Tom Bradshaw felt his groin on Friday morning.
“We couldn’t afford to risk either of them, though they should both stand a chance of being fit for next weekend’s game against Bristol City.
“The lads who stepped in performed admirably, though. They have all staked a claim for the Bristol game.
“Angus (MacDonald, who missed the Newcastle defeat in midweek) has been great in all the games he’s played.
“His covering and decision-making has been particularly impressive and he has coped with that jump in class really well.”w
Defender MacDonald (24) joined the Reds in the summer from National League side Torquay.