A ruthless Bournemouth put Barnsley to the sword in an impressive away performance on a cold and wet Friday night under the lights at Oakwell. Goals from Billing, Solanke, Diego Rico, and finally Sam Surridge claimed all three points for the visiting side as the Bournemouth attack put on an impressive performance in front of the Sky cameras.
The game got off to a real lively start and the visitors almost went in front inside the opening two minutes. Sam Surridge beat Walton to a long ball and knocked it around the keeper who was a long way off his line. The striker took aim from a tight angle but his shot went just wide. It was a real let-off for the hosts.
The Cherries continued their positive start and soon had created another opening. It was Surridge again causing problems and he got in behind and crossed for his strike partner Solanke who headed wide under pressure.
Barnsley fought back however and created a few chances of their own in what was a real end-to-end start to the game. The first sight on goal came from Mowatt who hit a curling effort from range which forced Begovic to make a save.
Soon after came another opportunity. Herbie Kane chipped a free-kick into the area and the ball broke for Mads Andersen, the big defender stabbed an effort towards goal but he was denied by the keeper.
The game soon flipped again and this time in the favour of the away side who took the lead on 12 minutes. Wing-back Adam Smith was found in space down the right and he evaded a challenge from Callum Styles and drove into the Barnsley half. Smith then picked out Billing on the edge of the area and he fired the ball with power into the bottom corner. It was a finish of real quality.
After the goal, Barnsley pushed to get back into the game and looked the better side for large spells of the first half after going behind. Bournemouth always looked a threat going forward though with the undoubted quality they had on the pitch.
The hosts created a number of half-chances but like in recent weeks against Blackburn and Birmingham, The Tykes were wasteful in the final third and failed to grab a goal when on top.
Barnsley’s best chance of the first half fell to Andersen following a clever quick free-kick routine. Kane played a quick pass in behind the defence to Chaplin and he drilled the ball dangerously across the box, Helik got his foot to this at the back post and he tried to pick out Andersen for a tap in. The Dane was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough and he was only able to stab the ball into the side netting.
A massive chance that the home side were soon made to regret missing as they soon fell further behind right on the stroke of Half-time following a mistake in the midfield by Cauley Woodrow who had dropped deep to try and create something.
The striker picked up the ball on the edge of his own box and tried to take on the Bournemouth midfield. He got passed a few challenges but was far too slow in releasing the ball and he was robbed of possession by Lewis Cook and the midfielder picked out the forward run of Solanke.
The powerful striker was too quick and strong for Helik and he made his way into the box and fired the ball in at the near post with his weaker left foot. It was a real sucker punch for Barnsley to concede with the last kick of the half during a spell in which they were on top.
Half-time Barnsley 0-2 AFC Bournemouth
Barnsley had played well for most of the first half so will have been devastated to have been two goals down at the break. They had more than matched Bournemouth in most areas despite the scoreline. The major difference was the quality and composure in the final third and the big-name players for the visitors were proving the difference so far. Finishing the chances that came their way, whilst Barnsley again were wasteful.
It was a much slower start to the second half compared to the frantic opening in the first half, but again it didn’t take long for Jason Tindall’s side to score their third and it was a goal of real Premier League quality.
Mads Andersen gave away a totally needless free kick on the edge of the Barnsley area when he pushed Surridge over despite Helik seeming to be in control of the situation. Diego Rico stepped up and made the young defender pay for his naivety by firing the ball home.
The angle looked tight and most on the pitch including keeper Walton probably expected the Spaniard to cross the ball in, however, he had other ideas and whipped the ball brilliantly into the top corner to make it 3-0 and effectively kill any hopes of a Barnsley come back.
Barnsley did try to get back into the game but could not break down a stubborn defence. They worked the ball forward well but were let down again by the final ball and lack of anticipation from the strikers. On another day Barnsley could have easily scored two or three themselves but they lacked the required composure when it mattered on this occasion.
They did come close with a few efforts after falling three goals behind, the first effort coming again down the right with Callum Brittain who put in a low cross but just as in the first half no one was there to tap the ball home.
Sub Luke Thomas found space well on the edge of the box and he tried to pick out of the far corner but sent his shot just over the bar. But again Barnsley were the architects of their own downfall and another error in the middle of the park gave Bournemouth another goal and that truly killed off the game.
Herbie Kane looked to pass the ball back to teammate Sollbauer but his pass was misplaced and this allowed Sam Surridge to run through on goal. He got into the box and unleashed a powerful drive with his left foot towards goal.
The ball was hit within reach of Walton who got a big touch on it, but the power was enough to see the ball squirm through the keeper and over the line. Walton who has been one of Barnsley’s top performers of late will be livid with himself for letting the ball through him, however, Surridge deserved a goal for his overall performance as he had been a constant thorn in the side of the Barnsley defence.
After the fourth goal had gone in Bournemouth controlled the game and looked strong at the back. That final goal really knocked any remaining hope out of Barnsley and the visitors were able to see out the game without any major scares to seal the victory.
Full-Time Barnsley 0-4 AFC Bournemouth
The win puts Bournemouth back into the top spot and also saw them claim their first clean sheet away from home this season which will really please the Manager Tindall. The defeat sees Barnsley slip a place to 15th on goal difference after the four goals conceded puts them back onto a negative goal difference. Barnsley could slip further down the table depending on results tomorrow. Bournemouth too could slip back to second if Norwich win.
The better side won the game today but the scoreline was harsh on the home side who more than matched Bournemouth for large parts of the game. In the end, they were beaten by a few moments of Premier League quality and by two really sloppy and avoidable mistakes.
Tindall’s men were clinical when they got chances and they showed why they are considered one of the favourites for promotion, Ismael will be hoping his side can learn a thing or two from this defeat and I am sure he wishes his team possed the killer touch Bournemouth showed today.
Although the result is a truly disappointing one to take for the hosts, their season will not be defined by games against the likes of Bournemouth. The next six games see The Reds face four teams who currently sit below them in the table so that should give them a chance to bounce back from this and add more points to their tally.