Barnsley 2 Shrewsbury Town 1 - Report and pictures
Shrewsbury’s fight to confirm League One safety will go on after playing well but being edged out 2-1 at high-flying Barnsley.
Tyrese Campbell’s goal before half-time was a deserved equaliser for Sam Ricketts’ side, who were the better team in the first half.
Alex Mowatt had given Barnsley the lead and Jacob Brown netted the winner 10 minutes into the second half for the second-placed Tykes.
Salop were left to rue gilt-edged chances missed by Shaun Whalley, Luke Waterfall, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Campbell for not taking what would have been a deserved share of the spoils. Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies was his side’s clear man of the match.
Town’s plight goes on to Easter Monday at home to Oxford as the gap below them to the bottom four was cut to five points.
Unhelpful background noise surrounded the Tykes’ build up to their home Bank Holiday clash.
Boss Stendel was the victim of an alleged assault after last week’s victory over Fleetwood.
But the home side had their proud 13-month unbeaten home run behind them at an expectant Oakwell - and the small matter of an automatic promotion race against Sunderland, Portsmouth and Charlton.
Town, all-but safe after their super win in Gillingham, knew that anything taken from Oakwell - where they dramatically won in the 90th minute in 2015 - was a bonus.
Academy graduate Ryan Sears was given just his second league start for Town, seven months after his full league debut in September, he was Town’s only change. James Bolton made the bench but had a foot injury.
There was no Stefan Payne (ill) or Aaron Amadi-Holloway (knee) in Ricketts’ 18, allowing a rare place for Sam Smith.
Salop knew a victory would be a feather in their cap, secure their place in League One (albeit not mathematically), dent the Tykes’ promotion hopes and make them the only team to do the double over Stendel’s side this term.
Oakwell was a cauldron of noise ahead of kick-off. The hosts were buoyed further by Charlton losing at Oxford. There was an expectant roar around the stadium and vocal support for boss Stendel.
But Salop almost silenced the locals inside three minutes. Sears stormed into a tackle against Daniel Pinillos, found Tyrese Campbell, whose inch-perfect through ball played Shaun Whalley in on goal.
Out rushed Barnsley skipper Davies in goal and he denied Whalley one-on-one. The rebound dropped to Shrews’ No.7 but Adam Jackson cleared it off the line.
It set the tone and showed the hosts they were in for a game. Sears won another 50-50 with Pinillos, then Campbell headed a lovely right-sided move wide. Town weren’t here to make up the numbers.
Town’s back three was becoming a five when it needed to be and frustrated the home side, whose fans grew irritated with aimless passes.
Ricketts’ men had rattled the hosts and it wasn’t until 20 minutes that Mike Bahre fizzed a half-volley wide as the Tykes’ first effort.
The home side hadn’t settled but midway through the first half they led. Anthony Grant took a touch on the edge of his box and tried to beat a man when he could have cleared. The midfielder was robbed and Mowatt took charge.
The Barnsley man curled into the corner from 22 yards in style.
The opener was hard on Town but they were undeterred. Ollie Norburn had a penalty appeal waved away before Greg Docherty shot a foot or so over the top left angle from distance.
Shrews wrestled back a foothold in the clash and stuck to their plan.
The visitors kept pressing and countering and got their reward. Grant made amends, cleverly putting his body in against Ethan Pinnock, allowing the ball to drop to Campbell just inside the right side of the box.
The Stoke hot-shot let it bounce before sending his left-footed half-volley into the far corner. A superb finish for his fifth Town goal.
It could and should have been better for Ricketts’ men on the stroke of half-time.
Davies made a hash of a headed clearance outside the box, Whalley picked it up and - two on one with a defender - played Campbell on goal but the keeper atoned with a low stop.
Town were guilty of missing gilt-edged one-on-one chances at the start and end of the half, but had the least they deserved going in level at the break.
It was all Shrewsbury after the break. They pressed Barnsley and got more joy. From a short corner, a delicious drilled Docherty cross was just missed by Omar Beckles and a diving Luke Waterfall - released by Barnsley as a 17-year-old - headed into the ground and inches over.
He was livid at himself but Town came again. Awarded a throw they shouldn’t have been, Whalley found Campbell whose low volley flew fractionally wide. Another chance went.
The hosts woke up. First Cameron McGeehan cracked the crossbar from 10 yards before Brown struck.
An overlap down the right, into the box, hit the byline and the cutback was hammered in at Jonathan Mitchell’s near post.
Now the wind was in Barnsley’s sails, the boosted Bank Holiday crowd were deafening and roared their team on. Cauley Woodrow spurned three chances to put Town to bed.
Town struggled to find their feet and regain some composure. Norburn was a few yards off connecting to a Whalley through pass as the visitors looked to spring a rare attack.
But Salop did worry the Tykes again. Ro-Shaun Williams had a shot blocked from a corner before it looked like he was pulled back. Scott Golbourne then curled inches off target from range. The hosts were let off.
Barnsley thought they had done enough but Shrews thought otherwise. Just on as sub, Okenabirhie found himself the latest through on goal but Davies again made himself big to deny an impressive but empty-handed Town.
Davies (c); Williams, Jackson, Pinnock, Pinillos; Brown, McGeehan, Mowatt, Thiam (Hedges, 80); Bahre (Moore, 64); Woodrow (Styles, 89).
Subs not used: Walton (gk), Fryers, Cavare, Green.
Shrewsbury Town (3-4-2-1):
Mitchell; Williams, Waterfall, Beckles; Sears, Norburn ©, Grant (Laurent, 78), Golbourne; Whalley, Docherty (Smith, 86); Campbell (Okenabirhie, 74).
Subs not used: Charles-Cook (gk), Sadler, Bolton, Gilliead.
Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 13,126 (584 Shrewsbury fans)
Position in the table: 15th (50 points from 43 games)
Star man: Ryan Sears - solid and mature