The trip to South Yorkshire to play Barnsley was a great opportunity for the Boro to build on a decent start to the season. Having arrived at Oakwell another new ground for me to tick off, me and my mate enjoyed a drink in the concourse before going to pick where to sit for the game. With the ticket stating unreserved seating which I think is a great idea for friends and groups to sit together, we choose to sit in upper right behind the goal.
10-15 Minutes before kick off the atmosphere was building and you could sense this was going to be a noisy travelling army. We clapped the players off after the warm up, now it was time for the big kickoff.
The players entered the pitch from the tunnel which was just to the right of us. The game got under way with not the start we wanted with McManus slicing the ball into his own net. It was an awful goal right in front of us and opening Barnsley’s account for season. I had my hands over my face I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. So for the first time this season could we come back from a losing position?
A goal down Tony Mowbray changed the formation to 3-5-2 with Rhys Williams joining Stephen McManus and Matthew Bates at the back. It wasn’t long before we were level through a Barry Robson corner Scott McDonald scoring his first goal of season. Great to see the forward get of the mark! Great response by Boro and it was only to get better with Boro going in front two minutes later. Rhys played the ball over the top for McDonald who used his pace down the left and crossed the ball into the box for Robson who burst into the box to tap home his first goal of season.
What a come back from Boro and plenty of EIOing from the travelling red army. Robson was bursting forward playing a more central midfield role. Arca started his first game since rejoining the club. Plenty of creativity and Bailey was spraying the passes short and long. The passing & movement was superb, playing quick tempo, forward passing football. Great to watch Boro be the entertainers.
Robson met a cross from Justin Hoyte who was having more Joy down the flanks but headed just over the bar. So close! It wasn’t long before we increased our lead further with all the Boro players behind the ball McDonald gained possession and accelerated with his pace, Emnes made a run into the box and McDonald slipped a nice through ball for Emnes to latch on to, he took a touch and hit a shot under Barnsley keeper Steele to make it 3-1 to Boro. What a first half the away end was bouncing. What a turnaround from that early disaster.
The Ref blew his whistle for the end of the half time & the players came off the pitch to a great ovation, first half job done! Time for the 2nd half Barnsley started the brighter forcing us all back in our own half of the pitch but it was Boro who had the real big chance to increase our lead. Robson played a through ball for Bates who made a run forward and he only had keeper to beat but he didnt put any power in the shot otherwise it was a certain goal. Time for some subs with Mowbray taking Hoyte off who had a late fitness test to play been replaced by Hines. Smallwood came on for the influential Julio Arca who played great in the middle of the park, it was like he had never been away. Chants of Julio, Julio Julio rang out by the away following.
Smallwood did well, making a run just outside box he was brought down. Robson took the freekick which was hit straight at the wall. Then came the final whistle with a huge ovation for all the players as they came off the pitch. Tony Mowbray was given a loud reception as he headed down the tunnel, us fans chanting ‘There’s only one Tony Mowbray’ as he came off the pitch. It was great to see young Connor Ripley just behind me following the first team which shows that the young players really do care about the team.
The away end was superb all night, great support throughout on a purely great away game I didn’t want to end, 3 points in the bag, a comfortable win on the road so roll on Sunday! Plenty of character in this team, when we need to defend all 11 work hard to be behind ball and break forward in numbers. Tony Mowbray has got us playing some great football this season, it’s an encouraging start to the season and we must build on this back at the Riverside on Sunday against Birmingham. UTB!