Barnsley 1 Fulham 0: Reds doing just fine without promotion heroes as they kick off with excellent win
On a day when another one of Barnsley's League One promotion heroes was heading out of the door, the new-look side showed they might do just fine without the old boys.
Kieffer Moore was in the stands at the DW Stadium ahead of his protracted £3million move to Wigan, which is expected to be completed on Monday, but back at Oakwell, normal service was resumed as the Reds opened their Championship campaign with a thoroughly impressive 1-0 win over Fulham.
While Moore is set to join Adam Davies, Liam Lindsay, Ryan Hedges and Ethan Pinnock in leaving the club this summer, it was one of the newboys who shone as Luke Thomas' first-half goal was enough to earn an important three points and extend their unbeaten home record which now spans across three different seasons.
Thomas, a £1million-plus signing from Derby, bagged in the 13th minute when he collected the ball out wide and skipped past Joe Bryan before calmly slotting the ball under Marcus Bettinelli.
It proved to be enough as the Reds were the better of the two sides who were two divisions apart last season and left Daniel Stendel purring.
“I’m very happy about the result but more about the performance,” the German, who refused to speak about Moore's situation, said. “We knew that Fulham have a good squad but if we played with more conviction we had a chance to win this game.
“Most of the time we played really well, Fulham had some chances in the second half, but we deserved to win the game.
“I’m a little surprised with it being the first game in the Championship and having so many new faces who are also very young, but we played so good.”
Barnsley: Radlinger, Cavare, Diaby, Andersen, Sibbick, Mowatt, McGeehan, Wilks (Thiam 90), Bahre, Thomas (Chaplin 86), Woodrow (Miller 90)
Subs not used: Collins, Williams, Style, Halme
Fulham: Bettinelli, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand (Christie 33), Bryan, Johansen (Knockaert 65), McDonald, Cairney, Kamara, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro (Ayite 74)
Subs not used: Rodak, Kebano, Rui Fonte, De La Torre
Referee: Jarred Gillett