Barnsley came out victorious in what on paper looked like it would be a tough clash with former Premier League side Fulham.

An early strike from debutant Luke Thomas was the difference in the game which saw the Reds play some assured football not befitting of a team who are the bookies’ favourites to go down - and Barnsley generally looked the better side.

The visitors had the better of the opening minutes in which the Reds looked fairly sloppy in possession, with Dimitri Cavare missing a header in the first minute which allowed Aboubakar Kamara to advance on goal and play through Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbian international scored 11 goals in Fulham’s ill-fated Premier League campaign, but his strike sailed over the bar.

Fulham then went close again five minutes later, as Tom Cairney, Joe Bryan and Ivan Cavaleiro exchanged passes before the winger put too much power on his strike.

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The Reds then began to turn the screw, with Mallik Wilks going close with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box which fizzed low past Marcus Bettinelli’s left-hand post.

Luke Thomas was relentless on the right wing, causing Fulham left-back Joe Bryan no end of woes.

The former Derby County winger’s opening strike came on the 12-minute mark, as he received a pass from new skipper Mike Bahre and cut inside from the right before squeezing the ball home from a tight angle.

Thomas could’ve had a second on the 67th minute, as he rounded the keeper after being found by Bahre again, but Bryan made the block.

Bahre was influential in a central attacking midfield role, combining well with Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGeehan to link up play with the forward line.

He played a sublime pass to release McGeehan through a hole in the centre of Fulham’s defence, but the midfielder couldn’t capitalise, and he also had a chance of his own on the 16-minute mark as he sent several defenders the wrong way in the box with a neat shimmy and fired a low shot which was saved.

The German, though, should’ve scored in the final minutes of the first half as he received the ball from Wilks at close range, but under pressure he knocked the ball wide.

There were late first-half chances for the visitors as Denis Odoi headed over from a free kick and Kevin McDonald won a corner right at the end of the half.

Danish centre-back Mads Andersen made two vital blocks in the second half, first from Tom Cairney on the hour mark and then from Floyd Ayite, and received the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.

Anthony Knockaert was a second half substitute for the visitors, and he stung the palms of Sami Radlinger with a long-range strike in the 72nd minute.

Eight players made their Barnsley debuts, with Conor Chaplin and George Miller gaining some minutes at the end of the match.

AS IT HAPPENED
  • 13:38pm
     
    Good afternoon and welcome to the Chronicle’s coverage of Barnsley’s first game of the 2019/20 Championship season at home to Fulham from 3pm.
  • 13:40pm
     
    Team news is due at 2pm. Jacob Brown and Kenny Dougall are both out for the Reds while a host of other players are returning from knocks including last year’s top-scorer Kieffer Moore.
  • 14:07pm
     
    The teams are in. Barnsley: Radlinger; Sibbick, Andersen, Diaby, Cavare; Thomas, McGeehan, Mowatt, Bahre; Woodrow, Wilks.
  • 14:07pm
     
    Mike Bahre takes the captain's armband on the first match of the campaign.
  • 14:08pm
     
    Subs: Collins, B Williams, Chaplin, Styles, Halme, Miller, Thiam.
  • 14:10pm
     
    Fulham: Bettinelli, Bryan, Le Marchand, Mawson, Odoi; Cairney, McDonald, Johansen; Cavaleiro, Kamara, Mitrovic. Subs: Rodak, Kebano, Ayite, Fonte, Christie, Knockaert, De la Torre.
  • 14:12pm
     
    Just one debutant starts for the visitors, Ivan Cavaleiro on the wing. In comparison, the Reds have six players making their competitive debut.
  • 14:12pm
     
    Assistant coach Dale Tonge has said that Barnsley would be happy if they kept this squad together by the end of the window but, with the deadline on Thursday, they are considering signing a new left-back as well as adding some experience to a very young group of players.
  • 14:14pm
    Tonge is pleased with the progress made during the summer, in which the Reds have made ten signings while losing promotion heroes Ethan Pinnock, Liam Lindsay and Adam Davies. He said: “The players are further ahead than we thought they might be at this stage. People say six weeks is a long time in pre-season but we had so many new players. They have all had consistent messages, whether they were in at the start of the window or the end.”
  • 14:15pm
     
    Fulham have just come down from the Premier League and have some well-known players. Serbia international striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scored 11 Premier League goals last season after signing for £22million.
  • 14:15pm
     
    Fulham also have England under 21s star Ryan Sessegnon as well as £5million signing Aboubakar Kamara. Barnsley’s defence in their final pre-season game – a 4-1 loss to Sheffield United – saw 21-year-old centre-backs Mads Andersen and Bambo Diaby play between 20-year-old full-backs Ben Williams and Toby Sibbick.
  • 14:17pm
    Asked how he thinks that defence will deal with the prospect of facing Fulham’s attack, coach Dale Tonge said: “I would back them to thrive on it. Why not? You are in football to play against the best players. It can be frightening or exciting. It’s a great opportunity for our players to show where they are and what level they are at. We feel like that they are good enough to perform at this level and there’s no bigger test than the first game with the likes of Mitrovic, Kamara, Knockaert and Cavaleiro.”
  • 14:20pm
     
    Head coach Daniel Stendel has said the side who played in the 4-1 loss to Sheffield United in the final pre-season game on Saturday would be ‘very close’ to tomorrow’s starting 11. Stendel told the Chronicle: “Fulham is a Championship club but normally a Premier League club. We need to show that we have learned very fast from the Sheffield United game.”
  • 14:21pm
     
    Barnsley have just come out onto the pitch to warm up, getting some warm applause from the fans who have taken their seats early.
  • 14:22pm
     
    The squad will be hoping to extend their unbeaten home run in league games to 28, having gone through a season unbeaten for the first time since 1967/68 while their last loss at Oakwell was to Millwall in March last year. A draw or win today would mean they have equalled the run in the 1938/39 season, while the only longer sequence was between 1934 and 1935 when the Reds did not lose at Oakwell in 36 league fixtures.
  • 14:24pm
     
    Fulham reached the Premier League last year then spent more than £100m – a record for a newly-promoted club – but were relegated in 19th place, ten points off safety, while conceding the most goals in the division with 81. Having sacked both Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri last season, former England captain Scott Parker has been given his first managerial job.
  • 14:25pm
    While some of last summer’s big money arrivals have left the club, such as Jean Michael Seri and Andre Zambo Anguissa, who were brought in for £50million combined, they still have former Barnsley captain Alfie Mawson. He joined for £15million before suffering a second successive relegation after also going down with Swansea City who signed him from Barnsley in August 2016.
  • 14:27pm
     
    Mawson – who was called up for an England squad last year – played 64 games for the Reds, scoring nine goals. He limped out of Fulham’s friendly against West Ham United on Saturday and was a doubt today, but has been named in Fulham's starting 11.
  • 14:27pm
     
    While Mawson is an ex-Barnsley player, today's side has a host of squad members with connections to Fulham. Cauley Woodrow spent eight years with the London club who sold him to Barnsley in January following a loan.
  • 14:28pm
    Woodrow told the Chronicle: “My eyes lit up as soon as I saw we were playing them first. I was joking with some people I know there and saying ‘imagine if we got Fulham in the first game.’ When it actually happened I couldn’t believe it. It was quite surreal, but it’s exciting. I was there less than a year ago and now I am going to be playing against them.”
  • 14:29pm
     
    Asked if he felt he had something to prove to his former employers, Woodrow said: “I don’t think so. People at that club know what I am capable of but it was just the wrong timing and it was right for me to move on when I did to the right club in Barnsley. I still know people at Fulham so it will be good to see them but, when the match starts, I will just treat it like a normal game and try to carry on my form from last season.”
  • 14:33pm
    Midfielder Cameron McGeehan was sold by the Cottagers to Chelsea for £80,000 aged ten. He told the Chronicle: “I was there when I was nine, it was my first academy, then I moved to Chelsea. Cauley was in their first team and he’s always going on about it. It’s a good club in a nice part of the country. I live near there so I have a soft spot for Fulham. It’s a great first game.”
  • 14:35pm
    Fulham also released Jordan Green as a teenager and rejected Toby Sibbick after a trial. Defender Sibbick told the Chronicle: “Hopefully I can play against Fulham on the first day and show them what they have missed. I would like to show them why they should have chosen me.”
  • 14:36pm
    New skipper Mike Bahre coincidentally watched Fulham play Barnsley in December 2017 on a trip to London, before joining the Reds the following summer and helping them to promotion. He told the Chronicle: “I loved the atmosphere and I thought: ‘oh my God what a dream that would be to play in that league.’ Now that dream could come true by playing for Barnsley against Fulham in the first game of the season. I get goosebumps thinking about it.”
  • 14:38pm
     
    Fulham have a good recent record against Barnsley, doing the double in both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons including 4-2 and 3-1 successes at Oakwell, after seven successive winless trips there. Overall, the clubs have met 80 times with the Cottagers winning 26 and the Reds 31.
  • 14:41pm
    The last visit, in January last year, saw Fulham come from behind to win 3-1 with Dimitri Cavare being sent off for pushing Stefan Johansen when his side were winning on the stroke of half-time.
  • 14:43pm
     
    The previous visit, in 2016, also saw a home player sent off as Josh Scowen lunged in on Scott Parker who is now Fulham’s manager. The visitors had come from 1-0 and 2-1 down to lead 4-2.
  • 14:51pm
     
    10 minutes from kick-off here, and it's just been announced that former Barnsley man Alfie Mawson will walk out of the tunnel with Alfie Ledgeway, the young boy who he formed a strong friendship with during - and after - his time at Oakwell. 'Little Alfie' suffers from a rare brain condition, and Mawson became a friend and campaigner for the little boy and his family, keeping in touch after he left Barnsley in 2016.
  • 14:55pm
     
    We're minutes away from kick-off and there's a real buzz around Oakwell - helped by the vocal Fulham supporters who have made the trip up to Barnsley.
  • 14:59pm
     
    The players make their way out onto the pitch for the first time this season, led by German midfielder Mike Bahre who's showing off a new squad number and the captain's armband.
  • 15:02pm
     
    Fulham line up in front of their fans, while the Reds take up position in front of the Ponty End as the visitors get the kick-off.
  • 15:04pm
     
    1 An early chance for the visitors as Aleksandar Mitrovic blazes over the bar from the edge of the box. It was a missed header from Dimitri Cavare that allowed Kamara on the right wing to get the run on Mads Andersen, and square the ball to the Serbian striker.
  • 15:05pm
     
    3 A sloppy mistake from Alex Mowatt as he heads the ball straight to Kamara, who advances on goal until the ball is cleared for a throw on the opposite side of the pitch.
  • 15:07pm
     
    4 The Reds are looking a little sloppy so far, with Dimitri Cavare this time giving the ball away on the left side. Alex Mowatt gives away a free kick.
  • 15:07pm
     
    5 A mistake from the visitors this time as Bettinelli sends the ball for a throw in after an attempted clearance. Barnsley advance up the pitch and get a throw-in in a decent position on the right.
  • 15:08pm
     
    6 Well played from Luke Thomas to win the ball from the advancing Stefan Johansen in the opposition half.
  • 15:09pm
     
    6 Ivan Cavaleiro balloons the ball over the bar after a neat passing move involving Joe Bryan, Tom Cairney and the winger.
  • 15:11pm
     
    8 A better spell for the Reds as they start to apply some pressure on the Fulham backline. Alex Mowatt does well to retain possession amid some strong pressure, but the ball is eventually played forward and over the touchline for a goal kick.
  • 15:12pm
     
    9 An excellent Joe Bryan tackle stops McGeehan from running all the way, after Cauley Woodrow plays it backwards to Mike Bahre who spots the midfielders run through the heart of the defence. A lightning quick move from the Reds.
  • 15:13pm
     
    10 minutes in, and while the visitors have had the better chances on goal the Reds have played some good football in the attacking third.
  • 15:14pm
     
    11 Malik Wilks goes inches wide of the left post with a fierce left-footed strike after picking up a loose ball that came off Kevin McDonald.
  • 15:15pm
     
    GOAL!
    12 Luke Thomas squeezes the ball in from the right side, at a very tight angle.
  • 15:19pm
     
    16 Shouts of handball aimed at Alfie Mawson, but nothing comes from the ref. Mike Bahre receives the ball just inside the box and spins, sending several defenders out of the way so he can taske a left-footed shot at goal. It's comfortably saved by Marcus Bettinelli.
  • 15:22pm
     
    19 Bambo Diaby with an excellent piece of defending to collect a long pass aimed at Mitrovic and beat the striker for pace, playing a one-two with Toby Sibbick on the right side of the defence. The fans enjoyed that one.
  • 15:23pm
     
    20 A break in play as Luke Thomas receives treatment, but the visitors get the free kick on their left wing. Looks like it's going into the box.
  • 15:25pm
     
    21 The recovering Thomas nicks the ball as he returns onto the pitch after the free kick is cleared by Malik Wilks on the edge of the box. He was rapid as he charged down the right wing, but ran into a dead end in the opposition box.
  • 15:27pm
     
    24 The Reds are dominating the midfield, as Mads Andersen steps out to dispossess Tom Cairney and Alex Mowatt clears up. Some disciplined high pressing play from the new look Reds defence.
  • 15:29pm
     
    26 Mike Bahre advances in a central position before playing in Malik Wilks, who takes a touch and unleashes a left-footed drive which is blocked by Denis Odoi. He takes a second swing, this time with his right, as the blocked ball comes back to him, but it's wide of the left post.
  • 15:30pm
     
    27 Nearly another chance for Luke Thomas on the right, whose pace will now be evident to Fulham left-back Joe Bryan. Woodrow plays in the winger, but Marcus Bettinelli comes out to collect.
  • 15:31pm
     
    28 Cauley Woodrow gets a chance but off-balance, he hits it high and wide from the right side of the box. Alex Mowatt started the move with a sliding tackle, rolling the ball to skipper Bahre who played in Woodrow with a neat ball.
  • 15:32pm
     
    29 Alex Mowatt dribbles down the right wing and is clipped by Kevin McDonald for a free kick. The midfielder's ball into the box is collected by the keeper with little threat.
  • 15:34pm
     
    SUB OFF
    31 Maxime Le Marchand goes off for the visitors.
  • 15:35pm
     
    SUB ON
    31 Cyrus Christie takes his place.
  • 15:35pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Maxime Le Marchand got a yellow moments earlier for a lunge on Cameron McGeehan that looked pretty dangerous.
  • 15:37pm
     
    34 Mike Bahre plays a one-two with an unwitting Cameron McGeehan's heel on the edge of the box, before unleashing a powerful shot that sails over the bar.
  • 15:39pm
     
    36 The visitors appeal for a penalty as Ivan Cavaleiro tries to chest the ball but is met with pressure by Toby Sibbick. The Fulham wide man went to ground and Sami Radlinger collected.
  • 15:42pm
     
    39 Fulham go close from a free kick as Denis Odoi heads over the bar from Ivan Cavaleiro's ball in from the right side.
  • 15:43pm
     
    40 Cameron McGeehan takes a crack from well out, but Marcus Bettinelli can watch it roll past his left-hand post.
  • 15:44pm
     
    41 Some pressure from Malik Wilks forces the Fulham keeper to hook the ball for a throw. The winger then receives the ball but can't get a clean shot off and it's cleared.
  • 15:46pm
     
    43 Mads Andersen advances with the ball and feeds it to Toby Sibbick who had moved more centrally. He releases Luke Thomas who cuts inside and crosses, but the ball can't be controlled by Malik Wilks and the attack fizzles out.
  • 15:47pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    44 Alex Mowatt retrospectively booked for a lunge on Stefan Johansen.
  • 15:47pm
     
    44 Bahre misses from very close as he is played in by Malik Wilks. The German was under pressure, but it looked a bad miss.
  • 15:48pm
     
    45 The visitors get their own clip for the blooper reel as Ivan Cavaleiro balloons the ball over from just outside the box with his left foot. The home fans sarcastically jeer the winger.
  • 15:48pm
     
    ADDED TIME
    2 minute added time.
  • 15:50pm
     
    47 Kevin McDonald swings his boot at the ball after being played in by Ivan Cavaleiro. Fulham corner, but the visitors can't do anything with it and the ref blows his whistle.
  • 15:50pm
     
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1, Fulham 0. The Reds look the better of the two sides here at Oakwell.
  • 16:08pm
     
    45 The second half kicks off and the Reds immediately advance towards the Ponty End.
  • 16:10pm
     
    47 Joe Bryan advances into the box from the left, but his cross is deflected into the hands of Sami Radlinger.
  • 16:11pm
     
    48 Toby Sibbick is adjudged offside after Luke Thomas plays in the defender on the overlap. Sibbick had Mike Bahre waiting in the box.
  • 16:13pm
     
    49 Sibbick does well to receive a throw-in deep on the right and keep the ball amid challenges from three Fulham defenders. The right-back did well before being tackled by Joe Bryan.
  • 16:14pm
     
    50 Alex Mowatt swings the ball over the bar from the edge of the box after he's unable to get a cross away.
  • 16:15pm
     
    51 Malik Wilks outmuscles Stefan Johansen and fires a low ball into the box, which cannons out off Marcus Bettinelli's feet. The Reds are starting where they left off in the first half, piling on the pressure.
  • 16:16pm
     
    52 Cauley Woodrow, who has been quiet bar a couple of chances, takes a free kick from a long way out but it's not got enough power to reach the Fulham goal.
  • 16:17pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    53 Bambo Diaby gets booked for a body-check on Joe Bryan as the full-back was advancing down the left.
  • 16:20pm
     
    57 A free kick for the visitors after Dimitri Cavare gives away the foul deep on the visitors' right. It's headed narrowly wide by Alfie Mawson.
  • 16:23pm
     
    60 A very important block by Mads Andersen as Tom Cairney is released into the box and slides the ball under Sami Radlinger from close range.
  • 16:25pm
     
    62 The visitors are having a decent spell here, winning a throw-in well up their left side.
  • 16:25pm
     
    62 The throw from Joe Bryan is met by Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose header on goal poses little threat.
  • 16:27pm
     
    63 The Reds win a corner straight from the goal kick, as Radlinger's ball is chased by Malik Wilks who pressures Denis Odoi into knocking it out.
  • 16:27pm
     
    64 Wilks goes close with a header from the resultant corner, but it's narrowly wide of the right post.
  • 16:27pm
     
    SUB OFF
    64 Stefan Johansen.
  • 16:27pm
     
    SUB ON
    64 Anthony Knockaert.
  • 16:28pm
     
    65 Anthony Knockaert makes his debut for Fulham against the Reds, as his side hope to capitalise on a good bit of pressure.
  • 16:31pm
     
    67 Luke Thomas is wondering how he didn't score there as he gets the run on the Fulham defence and Mike Bahre's pass from the centre circle picks him out perfectly. The winger attempted to dribble around Marcus Bettinelli but left-back Joe Bryan managed to block his goal-bound attempt.
  • 16:35pm
     
    71 Luke Thomas is again put through on the right wing, but rather than dawdle he squares the ball directly into Cauley Woodrow. But the striker misses the ball with his attempt and rolls to Wilks, whose shot is blocked.
  • 16:36pm
     
    72 Sami Radlinger saves at full stretch from Anthony Knockaert's long-range drive, tipping the ball over the bar.
  • 16:36pm
     
    SUB OFF
    73 Ivan Cavaleiro.
  • 16:37pm
     
    SUB ON
    73 Floyd Ayite is the last of Fulham's changes.
  • 16:38pm
     
    75 Sami Radlinger saves comfortably from Knockaert's in-swinging corner.
  • 16:42pm
     
    78 Another vital block from Mads Andersen as Radlinger palms away Knockaert's ball into the box and it falls to Floyd Ayite, whose left-footed strike is blocked by the Dane.
  • 16:45pm
     
    81 Anthony Knockaert is well found after Fulham get a free kick on the edge of the box and it's launched to the French winger. However, Dimitri Cavare is on-the-ball to stop him cutting inside and clear.
  • 16:46pm
     
    82 Aleksandar Mitrovic is found in the box by Cyrus Christie on the right wing, but his header is cleared for a corner by Bambo Diaby, who has kept the striker quiet all game.
  • 16:48pm
     
    SUB OFF
    84 Luke Thomas makes his way off to rapturous applause from the home fans.
  • 16:48pm
     
    SUB ON
    84 Conor Chaplin comes on for his home debut.
  • 16:50pm
     
    86 The Reds are smartly keeping the ball in the corner winning a corner kick on the left side.
  • 16:52pm
     
    89 Kevin McDonald receives the ball on the edge of the box from Floyd Ayite, but the midfielder's effort is saved easily by Sami Radlinger.
  • 16:53pm
     
    SUB OFF
    89 Cauley Woodrow.
  • 16:53pm
     
    SUB ON
    89 George Miller is another late debutant.
  • 16:53pm
     
    ADDED TIME
    4 minutes added time.
  • 16:54pm
     
    91 Man of the match goes to Mads Andersen, who made two important blocks to keep the Reds in the lead.
  • 16:55pm
     
    91 A late throw-in for the visitors but the Reds pack the box and the ball in is received by Sami Radlinger.
  • 16:56pm
     
    SUB OFF
    93 Malik Wilks is cheered off the pitch.
  • 16:56pm
     
    SUB ON
    93 Mamadou Thiam is the final Reds change.
  • 16:57pm
     
    94 It's a last-minute break for the Reds as Alex Mowatt receives the ball in the middle of the park and sends Conor Chaplin down the wing. His cross is blocked for a corner.
  • 16:59pm
     
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 1, Fulham 0. The Reds have the best possible start to the campaign with a good win.