REPORT | Barnsley 0-2 Southend UnitedA superb away performance from Southend earned them a crucial three points against play-off rivals Barnsley with a fantastic 2-0 win.
A goal from Jack Payne early in the game was rounded off in the last minute from Michael Timlin’s sensational 25 yard goal.
The win was a first in three games for Blues which ended Barnsley’s five game unbeaten run and reignited their play-off hopes.
Blues came out the blocks strong and it wasn’t long before they made the perfect start thanks to Payne’s wonderfully taken goal inside four minutes.
The midfielder turned the Barnsley defence exquisitely on the 18 yard box before expertly rolling the ball past Adam Davies into the bottom left-hand corner.
The fast-paced opening ten minutes almost saw Barnsley equalise when Marley Watkins’ mazy run created an opening, but the Barnsley man had his shot deflected off Barrett for a corner, which some home fans and players thought had come of the centre backs arm.
The game showed no signs of slowing up and it was Blues who came so close to doubling their lead with a flurry of chances.
First, Barnett had a header pushed around the post from Kevan Hurst’s deep cross.
Confusion at the back from a succession of Southend corners allowed Glen Kamara to then tee-up the menacing Payne, who earned another corner off a strike destined for the corner.
Moments later, it was the number 10 who played in Anthony Wordsworth with a ball over the top and the midfielder had time to turn inside the box and pick his spot; but his effort rebounded off the upright.
Barnett was on hand to pick up the loose ball and find Payne who followed his pass with a surging run into the penalty area, but he volleyed just over the bar.
The brilliant spell of pressure from Phil Brown’s men did everything did everything but find the back of the net to extend their lead.
And they were almost made the pay for it.
Ashley Fletcher stole a march on Barrett and drove into the box, rounded Bentley before going to ground.
The goalkeeper tried to pull his arms away but the referee spotted an infringement, which gave the hosts a penalty and Bentley a yellow card. Conor Hourihane, however, stroked the spot kick wide of the right post.
Things settled, somewhat, after the miss in comparison to the event-filled first 25 minutes.
Barnsley continued to knock at the door via a Josh Brownhill free kick and another long range shot, but both were rising over the bar.
It was a similarly bright start for Blues in the second half as Hurst hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Barnsley responded well though and Blues were asked to defend for a ten minute period which saw Barnsley awarded two free-kicks from the same position, 25 yards out, but on both occasions the wall did its job.
Southend were finding it hard to create much going forward, instead asked to be resolute at the back, and on 61 minutes they were just that.
Fletcher received Hammill’s ball inside the area but he scuffed it
Hammill was again the provider on the Tykes next venture forward. A deep cross to the back post picked out Watkins who headed wide from close range which the home fans thought had sneaked inside the post.
Brown turned to his bench in a bid to halt the Barnsley onslaught, Stephen McLaughlin replacing Wordsworth.
Blues were afforded no rest-bite but another Tykes chance was wasteful from Hourihane’s in-swinging free kick which was headed on to Bentley’s safe hands.
Hurst had a strike from 18 yards which didn’t test Davies in a rare Southend attack.
Into the final minutes after sustained Barnsley pressure, without testing Bentley too much, tykes substitute Sam Winnall had a speculative effort from 30 yards which had the Blues goalkeeper troubled wide of the right post.
Payne, one of Blues’ outstanding performers of the afternoon, could have sealed the win, but he blazed over.
Michael Timlin did end it though with a quite brilliant goal.
He rifled in from 25 yards into the top corner to hand Blues a vital three points on the road, a goal befitting of Blues great performance.