Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom hailed his side’s defensive strength as they bagged a superb first away Championship win of the season at Millwall.
In what proved to be a shock result - the Lions had been unbeaten in four games prior to the weekend while the Reds had picked up just two points during that spell - Tom Bradshaw pounced for two predatory strikes as the visitors earned three points which lifted them up to 18th place in the table.
Heckingbottom was sent to the stands following half-time protestions to referee Oliver Langford in the wake of Millwall’s equaliser, but that clearly didn’t affect the players as the team ran out worthy 3-1 victors at the New Den.
“I thought we were good from start to finish,” said Heckingbottom.
“Don’t forget Millwall are a top side and they’ve done some real damage to some top sides over the last three years.
“The way they play, they make you defend deep in your box.
“We did defend well, though. They had an early chance, and then Morison’s header in the last five minutes, but apart from that, to a man we defended our box magnificently well.
“From the first minute on we grew into the game, and just got better and better.”
Bradshaw struck the opener after 40 minutes when converting a precise Harvey Barnes cross.
The Lions levelled just before the break when Lee Gregory converted a spot-kick after he had been adjudged to have been brought down by Matty Pearson.
Bradshaw converted another Barnes cross after an hour, before sub Mamadou Thiam slotted in a late penalty after fellow replacement Jared Bird had been tripped.
Bradshaw’s fine double
Tom Bradshaw ended a four-game goal drought in some style in Barnsley’s well-deserved win at Millwall.
The former Walsall man pounced for sixth and seventh goals of the season in London, and manager Paul Heckingbottom was delighted for the 25-year-old hit-man.
“It can be difficult for Tom,” admitted the Reds boss.
“Essentially there are three of them up there, but as a lone striker you’re having to look after two centre-backs.
“He may have less of the ball, but it means the others have to get good quality into him.
“Those were two really good deliveries from Harvey - and that’s no fluke - but Bradders was perfectly placed in between the goalposts and he’s put them away.
“Having seven goals by the end of September is a huge return.
“Of course we’re all delighted for him, and long may this continue.
“We’ll have long spells when no-one is scoring maybe, but that’s this league. We do have to earn every little bit we get out of it.
“No-one is more honest than Bradders, so he is getting his rewards.”
away win great lift
Ahead of the weekend, the Reds had secured just four points from the previous 33 available on their travels.
They hadn’t won away from home since picking up maximum points at Blackburn in April, and all they had for this season’s efforts so far was a point from a 1-1 draw at Preston.
The victory at Millwall - a side who had been bang in form - ought to provide a tidy shot in the arm as the team heads into the fortnight break.
If the Reds are to begin firing themselves back up the Championship table, they will need to secure the odd win on the road, and hopefully this will just be the start of an encouraging little run.
The form at Oakwell is okay, so a few more results like the one on Saturday away from home, and Barnsley will soon be heading north again.