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Barnsley Stun Wycombe with Commanding Display

EFL League One Match Report

2nd March 2024

Adams Park

This match was well set with Wycombe unbeaten in their last 9 home games and Barnsley only having lost one league game on the road this season.

Adams Park wasn’t exactly bouncing with the attendance totalling 4,768 of which over 800 were away fans and the first ten minutes of the match didn’t exactly ignite anything.

The first goal came from the home side in the 16th minute. A throw in from the quick-thinking Kieran Sadlier found Luke Leahy who flashed a low ball into the box and when Barnsley couldn’t clear their lines, it broke to Dale Taylor who fired in for his 8th goal in all competitions this season.

Barnsley reacted well creating good chances planting balls into the Wycombe box, with Sam Cosgrove then Corey O’Keefe unable to capitalise

The Chairboys came close to doubling their lead when Barnsley’s Donovan Pines sliced a Kieran Sadlier cross against his own post.

There was a brief melee in the home penalty area for which angry Wycombe fingers were pointed at Cosgrove for appearing to be raising his arms in an unsavoury fashion. Neither the referee or his assistant saw anything untoward and it ended with Wycombe’s Jack Grimmer and Barnsley’s Cosgrove receiving a talking to and a caution.

Wycombe had the better of the first 40 minutes and created some good opportunities but were unable to put them away to continue their narrative of the season so far.

On the stroke of halftime, Sam Cosgrove won what looked light a soft free kick under pressure from Luke Leahy just outside the home team’s penalty area. Leahy was harshly booked by referee Dean Whitestone.

Connell’s free kick had beaten Ravizzoli standing in for the suspended Max Stryjek, came back of the underside of the bar and Cosgrove reacted quicker than any of the home sides defenders to head in for his 2nd goal against the Chairboys this season.

The home team came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second period and regained the lead 6 minutes in.

Bez Lubala drove forward and played a sublime backheel into the evergreen Gareth McCleary’s path. McCleary looked second best as he was being shielded out of play by the Barnsley defenders but whilst on the floor, he managed to swipe the ball across goal with Kieran Sadlier being the beneficiary tapping in from close range. The 36-year-old was mobbed by his teammates for his efforts.

However, Barnsley’s success on the road was no fluke, just 4 minutes later they drew level. Connell’s corner playing pinball in the Wycombe box was poked goalwards by Pines and Josh Scowen was unable to clear off the line. 2-2 and the Barnsley fans seemed to know what was coming.

Barnsley were now in the ascendancy, Josh Earl and Herbie Kane had started to stamp their authority on the game, showing their class. On 65 minutes, some neat play found Jordan Williams on the right-hand side, his low cross evaded everyone and O’Keefe was there at the back post to side foot home.

Chairboys manager Matt Bloomfield made 3 changes at the restart, trying to get Wycombe back into the game. Straight from the kick off David Wheeler made an uncharacteristic kick out at O’Keefe after the ball when out play over their heads. O’Keefe looked to have lead with his arm but that was no excuse and Wheeler had to walk 30 seconds after coming on.  

Wycombe were now in all kinds of trouble; Barnsley really settled and played some nice passing football around the home sides 10 men.

With 18 minutes to go, Wycombe were chasing shadows and Williams again played a ball across the box and substitute Conor Grant expertly finished into the roof of the net from a tight angle. From then on, the game was over as a spectacle. The Chairboys huffed and puffed but couldn’t claw anything back.

My Player of the Match: Josh Earl.

Chief’s Chatter:

Wycombe Chief Matt Bloomfield “I was really pleased with the first 35-40 minutes. There was a great feel about the place. We could be here all day talking about what happened after that. Barnsley are a very good team but I felt we matched them until we went down to 10 men.”

Barnsley Chief Neill Collins “It’s a huge three points. Another great bit of resilience from the players. We got goals at important times but I thought a couple of our goals were of real quality.”

Wycombe remain 14th with some important games coming up against the teams around them in the table, starting with Reading on Saturday at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Meanwhile Barnsley stay in 4th place with a huge game coming up on Tuesday when they host Bolton at Oakwell.