MATCH REPORT: Charlton 0 Barnsley 1

Barnsley's David Perkins heads up with Charltons Johnnie Jackson.
Barnsley's David Perkins heads up with Charltons Johnnie Jackson.
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SUPER Barnsley leap-frogged their hosts into 16th place in the Championship table thanks to Tomasz Cywka’s brilliantly-taken second-half winner.

More than 26,000 were packed into The Valley - including well over 1,000 roaring on the visitors - and they saw Keith Hill’s side boss proceedings almost throughout as they secured a morale-boosting second victory in their last three away games.

The Reds went into Saturday’s game on the back of two straight defeats heading into the international break but, despite their ongoing injury list, Cywka’s second goal of the season was enough to secure another three precious Championship points at the expense of last season’s League One champions.

Manager Hill was unsurprisingly delighted, and hugely satisfied that his team’s terrific effort was rewarded with those three points.

That’s a scenario that hasn’t always prevailed, most notably when the Reds played equally as well at Leeds a fortnight earlier but still lost to a controversial penalty.

Hill said: “This was a great performance, both individually and collectively. I was really pleased with the structure of the team too.

“Results have been unkind to us at times, but I have to say that performances have been pretty consistent. Today the result reflected the performance we put in.

“No-one could argue with that result - in fact it could have been even more magnificent if we’d tucked one or two more chances away.”

Hill made just one change to his starting line-up for the trip south to London following the unfortunate defeat at Leeds last time out.

And the change came in attack as Marlon Harewood was dropped to the bench after a quiet game at Elland Road, with Chris Dagnall stepping back into the starting 11.

There was a pleasant surprise with centre-back Stephen Foster able to start, having recovered from a troublesome back problem.

The stuttering Addicks were eyeing back-to-back wins for the first time this season, although the hosts hadn’t exactly been prolific in front of their own fans, with just four goals being scored in their opening five home Championship fixtures.

They rarely threatened again on Saturday, with Barnsley creating the lion’s share of the opportunities in a goalless first period.

Stephen Dawson and Jacob Mellis both tried their luck from distance in the opening 10 minutes, while Polish wide-man Cywka tested Charlton keeper Ben Hamer with a smart low shot, having been first to reach youngster John Stones’ cross into the box.

Cywka then combined well with Dagnall, before seeing a shot blocked, with the rebound falling back to Dagnall who just failed to get another effort away.

Craig Davies - back and looking fresh following international duty with Wales - saw a powerful drive charged down by the brave Chris Solly, and the Reds were totally in command and knocking the ball around the pitch quite superbly.

However, there was a mighty scare just as first-half stoppage time approached when the missed chances were almost punished ruthlessly by Charlton loan striker Abdul Razak, who forced Ben Alnwick into a fine save from his thumping 25-yard free-kick.

Addicks boss Chris Powell must have had a few stern words for his players at half-time and he did make a double substitution at the interval, but neither had the desired effect.

Still the Reds were in the ascendancy after the restart, with Dagnall scooping a disappointing shot over the top and Cywka seeing a shot blocked by Leon Cort.

Thankfully, the Reds were finally rewarded in the 64th minute, when Cywka pounced for an eye-catching individual goal.

He suddenly found himself in space on the right flank and, with options limited in the Charlton box, he went on his own, striking home a shot into the roof of the net from the acutest of angles.

There was a brief response from Charlton with former Rochdale midfielder Dale Stephens rifling a right-foot shot inches wide, but the Reds defence had been brilliant all afternoon and stifled anything the hosts could throw at them.

Substitute Johnnie Jackson was denied by a goal-line clearance from a clutch of defenders and Alnwick, while on the break and as the game entered stoppage-time Dagnall lashed in a crisp effort from 20 yards which flew just past the post.

The Reds had fully deserved their victory, leaving Addicks boss Powell to reflect on another disappointing home performance.

He said: “It was another frustrating day for us.

“I just felt we didn’t play with nearly enough tempo and consistency over the course of the game.

“We started off okay, to be fair, but then Barnsley settled into the game and we didn’t do enough to affect it.

“In the end it was a bad day all round.”