A professional away performance from Brentford saw them inflict Barnsley’s first home defeat under new boss Valerien Ismael. This came thanks to a well taken Ivan Toney header from a set piece. There was some late controversy though as with just a few minutes to play Barnsley were denied what looked to be a certain penalty after a cross into the box clearly struck the hand of Brentford midfielder Janelt. The ref waved appeals away and Brentford claimed what on balance was a deserved victory.
Brentford made a bright start to the game knocking the ball around fairly nicely looking to patiently find gaps in the stubborn Barnsley defence who do not give much away these days. They got the first opening of the game after around 7 minutes when Fosu was able to cut in from the left and he hit a powerful drive from the edge of the box which forced Jack Walton into a save. Moments later after Barnsley failed to clear a long throw, Rico Henry let fly from the edge of the area and his shot flashed just wide of the post but the warning signs were there for the hosts.
Barnsley then started to get a foothold in the game and forced a succession of throws in deep in the Brentford half but were unable to turn this possession into any sort of clear chance. The only shot came from Matty James who blazed well over the bar from around twenty yards out.
A few minutes later however, Barnsley were able to register their first shot on target. A long range strike from Mowatt seemed to swerve in the air and David Raya was only able to parry this back into the six yard box. Unfortunately no one in Red was there to force this over the line and Brentford cleared.
It was then Barnsley again that created the next half chance, with Brittain crossing deep to the back post but Dom Frieser was not able to stretch enough to get anything on it and the ball went out for a Brentford throw. If only the striker was a few inches taller.
Half Time 0-0. It was a half of very few chances. Brentford dominated possession and Barnsley seemed more than happy to sit deep and allow the visitors to have the ball. Brentford knocked it around in their own half and struggled to create anything of any note. Barnsley themselves were also unable to really create any good chances in what was a very quiet opening half. Neither side was able to find that killer pass in the final third, especially the home side who couldn’t get the ball to stick up front.
The second half started well for the home side forcing a few corners early on but again could not carve out any real chances. The first opening for Brentford soon followed when Mbeumo was allowed to cut inside from the right hand side and curl a left footed shot towards the far post. He was aiming for the top corner but sent the ball well over the bar.
It was just before the hour that Brentford really started to apply some pressure and it was all coming from the brilliant set piece delivery of Mathias Jensen. A number of deliveries were scrambled clear by Barnsley but each seemed to cause a problem for the hosts. It seemed like only a matter of time before a goal would come and the most likely source would be a set piece.
The goal did eventually come on 66 minutes when Ivan Toney rose unmarked in the box to head home into the bottom right. The goal came from a Jensen corner which was floated in from the left. Ismael was clearly very angry with his side for giving away a goal so easily from a set piece. It was the first time his side had been behind at Oakwell since his arrival and he was keen for them to respond. To try and get back into the game he made a triple substitution to mix the game up with Herbie Kane, Clarke Oduor and Victor Adeboyejo all coming on.
Just a few minutes after the first goal, Barnsley nearly went two behind. A really poor clearance from Walton fell straight to Jensen who picked out Mbeumo down the right. He was in 1v1 and shot with his weaker right foot. Thankfully for the hosts and Jack Walton the ball flew over the bar. A real big let off indeed.
Brentford continued to boss possession and were knocking the ball around comfortably and were keeping the ball well mainly in their own half. They continued to create openings from Jensen set pieces and only a last ditch block from Walton denied Toney a second goal with little over five minutes to go.
Down the other end Barnsley were denied what seemed a certain penalty with the referee stood in a fantastic position with a clear view of the incident. A long ball forward seemed to be going out for a Brentford goal kick but Adeboyejo had other ideas. He chased it down and got the better of Pinnock right on the by line. He made his way into the box and tried to cross to Woodrow who was waiting in the middle. The ball struck the arm of Janelt and was hoofed clear. Barnsley players appealed for a spot kick but the ref was not buying it. After seeing a few replays it clearly hit the arm of the Brentford man and if we had VAR I am sure it would have been reviewed and probably given. A huge let off for Brentford.
With just seconds to go Brentford almost grabbed a second on the counter. Barnsley were pushing for a late equaliser and had pushed bodies forward. Sub Forss who had only moments before come on to replace Toney found himself free in the box but was denied by a good diving save by Jack Walton. Brentford held on and the game ended 0-1.
It was a game of very few chances but overall Brentford probably edged the game and deserved the win. They bossed possession with Barnsley opting to sit deeper than usual in what may have been an attempt to counter the pace Brentford have going forward. Both sides looked comfortable at the back with neither keeper really tested and it was always likely to be settled either via a mistake, a moment of magic or a set piece. In the end it was the latter that decided the game as Jensen was allowed too many opportunities to deliver into the box and Barnsley were made to pay.