Match Report: Barnsley 0 Reading 1

Barnsley v Reading'Martin Devaney FAILS TO PUT THE BALL IN FROM CLOSE RANGE
Barnsley v Reading'Martin Devaney FAILS TO PUT THE BALL IN FROM CLOSE RANGE
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Comedy Goal Is Nothing To Laugh About

Disappointing Barnsley Created Little On Saturday At Home To Reading And Were Eventually Sunk By A Strike From Substitute Mathieu Manset With 19 Minutes Remaining.

Barnsley v Reading'Mark Robins barks instructions from the sideline

Barnsley v Reading'Mark Robins barks instructions from the sideline

The Reds Are Being Hampered By A String Of Injuries, But Manager Mark Robins Was Particularly Downbeat As He Clearly Felt The Royals Were No Better Despite Brian Mcdermott’s Men Stretching Their Unbeaten League Run To Seven Games.

“It Is Frustrating Because Reading Were There For The Taking,” Reflected Robins.

“They Weren’t Particularly Good, But That’s Been The Story Of Our Season.

“A Couple Of Decent Results And Then A Poor Performance Like This Lets Us Down.

“The Goal Was A Comedy One Too. Apart From That, We’ve Dealt With Issues Well At The Back, But Shane Long Has Been A Thorn In Our Side A Number Of Times Previously And That’s Proved To Be The Case Again.”

As Expected, Reds Striker Andy Gray Was Rewarded For His Two-goal Heroics The Previous Weekend At Cardiff With A Start And He Partnered Blackpool Loan Hitman Marlon Harewood Up Front.

There Were Three Changes In Total, With The Other Two Enforced As Hull City Loan Centre-back Paul Mcshane And Chelsea Loan Midfielder Jacob Mellis Were Both Ruled Out With Hamstring Injuries.

The Loss Of Mcshane Posed A Particular Problem For Robins With Someone Now Required To Pair Up With Skipper Jason Shackell At The Heart Of The Reds Defence.

In The End Midfielder Nathan Doyle Was Given The Nod, With Matt Hill At Left-back, Kieran Trippier On The Right And Jay Mceveley Asked To Play Wide On The Left.

The First Half Was Largely Uneventful. Reading Started Brighter And Could Well Have Scored Two Inside The Opening Five Minutes.

Long, Looking For His 21st Goal Of A Fine Season, Planted A Header Narrowly Wide From A Good Position, Then A Minute Later Simon Church Raced Clear Of The Barnsley Backline But Was Thwarted By A Smart Save From The Alert Luke Steele In Goal.

The Reds Responded With Harewood Seeing A Header Well Saved By The Impressive Alex Mccarthy, Before Mceveley Realeased Jim O’brien But He Rifled A Near-post Effort Wide.

The Best Chance Of The Opening Half Went Reading’s Way As Ex-red Brian Howard Played In Church, But The Wales International’s Angled Shot Fizzed Inches Past The Far Post.

After The Break Reading Stormed Out Of The Blocks And Created A Number Of Chances But Were Unable To Convert Any.

Howard Saw A Shot Saved By Steele, Then The Barnsley Keeper Again Came To The Rescue As He Beat Away A Splendid Volley From Dangerman Long.

Zurab Khizanishvili’s Towering Header Was Just Tipped Over The Top By The Outstretched Steele, Before The Reds Finally Hit Back As They Almost Opened The Scoring In The Most Bizarre Fashion.

Darting In Between The Dithering Mccarthy And Brynjar Gunnarsson, Substitute Martin Devaney Poked A Shot Towards Goal And As The Ball Trickled On To The Post It Rebounded Out, Came Back Off Devaney’s Shin And Went Behind For A Goal-kick.

It Was Just Over Ten Minutes Later When Reading Grabbed The All-important Goal That Would Decide The Game.

And It Was A ‘Comedy’ Strike As Far As The Hosts Were Concerned.

Aiming To See The Ball Out For A Goal-kick On The Left, Doyle Allowed Long To Nip In And Cross For Manset To Fire Past Steele From Barely Six Yards.

Doyle Held His Head In His Hands And Barnsley Were Up Against It And Set To Lost Their First Game In Four.

They Responded With Devaney Forcing A Splendid Save From Mccarthy And Harewood Testing The Keeper, But The Best Chance Before The Final Whistle Went Reading’s Way.

Manset Turned Superbly And Fired In A 20-yard Drive That Steele Dived Full Length To Palm Behind For A Corner.

Royals Boss Mcdermott Was Clearly Relieved As His Side Now Look Set To Push For The Play-offs After The Enforced Fortnight Off.

He Said: “This Was A Very Important Result For Us, Make No Mistake.

“It Was Imperative That We Went Into The International Break On The Back Of A Good Result And We’ve Managed That.

“Barnsley Is Never An Easy Place To Come To, But This Win Keeps Us Right In There – And With A Game In Hand.

“It’s All About Keeping The Momentum Going.

“The Confidence Is High In The Dressing Room, But It’s Bound To Be After Such A Run.

“This Is A Massive Win For Us.

“Right Through The Team We’ve Been Strong.”