Boro V Barnsley Preview: Last Time Out
Barnsley performed a remarkable turn around in the second half to send Gordon Strachan's Middlesbrough side back up north with nothing.
It was an eighth successive game without defeat for the Reds, who had won just once in their last five home matches and a sixth defeat in ten for Middlesbrough under new boss Gordon Strachan.
The game started off as a cagey affair and Barnsley looked to be playing the better football for the first fifteen minutes or so without really having any shots on goal.
The game turned on it's head in the 23rd minute however when Justin Hoyte found the top corner of Luke Steele's net with what looked like an over-zealous cross. The goal stunned both sets of supporters, sparking them into life.
The first half from then on was a little bit drab with Middlesbrough looking content to sit on the one goal lead and Barnsley looking content to let them.
Barnsley, very much in the shape of a Simon Davey side, without Robins' signings Shotton, Dickinson or Doyle, looked dead and buried and one could assume that had Davey still been in charge the game would probably have been beyond their reach at 1-0. But the same players under new management just don't know when they're beat these days and whatever Mark Robins said at half time worked a treat again as it did against Newcastle, because the Reds came out fighting, forcing a miraculous goal line clearance after just a minute of the second half.
Stephen Foster and Darren Moore both jumped to meet Emil Hallfredsson's free kick with the former Jamaican International making contact but his goal bound header was somehow turned away from the net despite looking like it may have crossed the line.
A couple of minutes later however the Reds were level again. Another cross from Hallfredsson was met this time by the captain Foster who made no mistake at the back post, planting his header beyond the reach of Danny Coyne.
On as a half-time substitute, Jacob Butterfield was staking a brilliant claim for a starting place in the next match, chasing everything and making blocks and tackles he had no right to make. He was putting himself to much more use than the less than impressive Hammill.
On the hour mark the Reds had taken the lead and it was no less than they deserved. Hallfredsson had a hand in the goal again, sending Daniel Bogdanovic away down the left who's cross found an unmarked Hugo Colace at the back post to head into the net in front of a stand full of enraptured fans.
The Reds had plenty of chances to make the game safe but for a lack of luck in front of goal and a couple of good saves from Coyne but they held on to record a massive win and send 14,000 fans home with high expectations of 2010.
Since the turn of the year Barnsley have kicked on and picked up 9 more points from the six games since the defeat of Boro and have sustained those high hopes of challenging for the Play-Offs at the business end of the season.