Barnsley came from behind to claim all three points away at Birmingham thanks to second-half goals from top scorer Cauley Woodrow and Callum Styles. They fell behind early into the second period but fought back to claim a deserved away win which will bring a welcome three points following two defeats on the bounce before this.
Barnsley started the brighter of the two teams, and they got the first chance early on when a long ball over the top from Mads Andersen found Woodrow in space around ten yards out but his left-footed shot flew high and wide.
The second chance soon followed and what an opportunity it was. A quick free-kick routine found Adeboyejo who was making his first start of the season, he bundled the ball into the path of Chaplin who fired wide from around eight yards out. He really should have done better with that one.
Barnsley were pressing really well. They were winning the ball high up the pitch much like they had done in their last game against Blackburn, but again just like in that game they were not able to make their dominance pay and it remained goalless.
The chances kept coming for the visitors, this time a long-range strike from Woodrow flies well over the bar after he was picked out on the edge of the area following good work down the right between Chaplin and Brittain.
The Tykes again pushed forward in an attempt to take the lead and had a decent shout for a penalty turned away. Again it was Woodrow involved, he got the ball in the box and looked to turn to find a shooting angle, Pedersen put a foot in and caught the Barnsley striker and he went down but the ref waved it away.
On first viewing, it looked like the striker had gone down too easily but on second viewing there was contact and it could have easily been given. There wasn’t much in the way of an appeal from Barnsley, but having seen this back a few times now it looked like a foul to me.
Towards the end of the opening 45, the hosts finally started to create some chances of their own. The first a free-kick from distance was struck by Sanchez but the ball sailed well over the bar.
The first big chance fell to the home side soon after when some slight hesitation by Callum Brittain allowed a cross to come in from the left. The ball found Leko in space on the right and he looked to cut inside onto his left foot to shoot. This allowed Styles to get back and make a crucial block.
Again after this, it was the away side that got back on top and looked most likely to score before the break. Another chance came their way and again it was the top scorer Woodrow with it. He hit a powerful effort from the edge of the box after Styles won the ball high up the pitch. His shot was always rising and unfortunately for him and his side it went just over the bar.
Just before the break, Barnsley had another chance but again it went begging. A great pass from Woodrow looked to set Adeboyejo through on goal, however, his touch was heavy and this allowed Harlee Dean to recover and steal the ball before he could get a shot away.
Barnsley certainly the better side in the first half but again like at Blackburn they were unable to take their chances which will certainly have frustrated Ismael especially after his comments after the game at the weekend where he urged his side to be more clinical with chances.
Half-Time Birmingham City 0-0 Barnsley
The second half started at a much slower pace with neither team able to create anything of note early on, the best action came from a few free-kicks that the home side pumped into the box but these were all cleared easily.
Birmingham carved out another half-chance soon after, Sanchez who was their brightest player in the first half cut inside from the right and got a shot away but this was deflected wide for a corner.
On 56 minutes Birmingham managed to find a goal out of nothing. Leko found himself in the corner surrounded by both Helik and Andersen, he somehow managed to backheel the ball between the two defenders to find the run of Colin. He controlled the ball and squared to Hogan who was waiting on the edge of the box for a simple finish.
The hosts had certainly started the second half brighter but the goal was a sucker punch to Barnsley who had been the better side overall up until that point.
Birmingham got hold of the ball more after the goal and Barnsley took a little time to react to going behind. But it was only a matter of time before they responded and created some more openings.
As expected the away side did start to mount a push for a leveller and almost got it via Callum Brittain, but again like most of the shots Barnsley had on the night it ended up over the bar. A good cross from the left found the wing-back in space but his side-footed effort went over.
With just 20 minutes to go Barnsley got their goal and were level. Walton’s goal kick was well held up in the box by Adeboyejo. He found Brittain who looked to cut back onto his left to cross but he was caught by the trailing leg of Pedersen. The Barnsley man went down and the ref pointed to the spot.
It looked a tad harsh compared to the one waved away in the first half but Barnsley had a route back into the game. Woodrow made no mistake from the spot as he sent the keeper the wrong way.
Both sides made a host of subs in order to freshen things up. Four came on for Barnsley with a triple sub for Birmingham. This led to the game quietening down a little as the subs looked to settle into the game.
The defining moment of the game came with just six minutes to go of normal time. Barnsley took the lead thanks to Callum Styles as his deflected effort found the bottom left corner.
A long throw into the box was flicked out to the edge of the box, Styles ran onto the ball and hit this first time on the half-volley. His powerful strike looked like it may be going wide, but it hit the legs of Leko and found its way in. The home keeper had no chance and was routed to the spot! A slightly lucky goal but no more than the away side deserved.
After his side got their noses in front, Ismael made his final change to bring on an extra defender to see the game out. This really took the sting out of the game and they were able to hold on without any real scares to claim a second away win of the season.
Full-Time Birmingham 1-2 Barnsley
The result saw Barnsley climb up to 13th with Birmingham dropping to 18th. Overall it was the correct result as Barnsley created more during the course of the game and they will be happy with the result. Birmingham will be disappointed with the lack of chances created at home. The away side really need to work on being more clinical as this game could have been out of sight by half time had they taken the chances they made in that opening half.