Barnsley made a disappointing start to their Championship season, losing 1-0 to Luton Town at Oakwell on Saturday.

A very poor match with minimal chances for either side was settled by James Collins' 71st-minute goal, the first by a visiting player at Oakwell in five matches since February.

The Reds dipped well below the standards they set in their great escape last season as well as in pre-season and the EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest a week earlier.

Gerhard Struber played Marcel Ritzmaier at left wing-back, with Clarke Oduor not in the squad due to injury, while Elliot Simoes played behind strikers Conor Chaplin and Cauley Woodrow. New signing Michal Helik was on the bench along with fit-again Romal Palmer.
Order your FIRST CLASS pictures here

The visitors started the brighter and should have taken the lead in the 18th minute when a fine Harry Cornick cross from the right was met by Collins but, sliding in, he shot over the bar from eight yards out.

Barnsley grew into the game after a poor first 20 minutes, in which they had to defend almost constantly. Woodrow had the first shot on target of the game on 35 minutes but his weak 20-yard effort was straight at the goalkeeper while he, Alex Mowatt and Callum Styles put efforts off-target from far out.

Luke Berry – one of eight ex-Reds in the Luton matchday squad – blasted over the bar from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time after Mads Andersen was robbed of the ball and claimed he had been fouled.

Struber made changes at the start of the second half, introducing Dominik Frieser for his league debut in place of Simoes and Romal Palmer for Ritzmaier. Frieser went up front with Chaplin and Woodrow dropped back into the number ten role, while Palmer joined Mowatt in the centre and Styles moved to left wing-back.

Luton took the lead in the 71st minute when a long ball was flicked on to Collins and, from just inside the box, he blasted a shot into the top right corner.

Barnsley could have levelled four minutes later when Frieser met a cross from the left at the back post but shot wide from five yards out. Luton almost made it 2-0 when a free-kick by substitute James Bree hit another former Barnsley player Matty Pearson and trickled wide.

Woodrow saw a close-range shot blocked almost on the line by Pearson after a blocked Mowatt free-kick fell nicely for him on the right of the area.

Barnsley team: Walton; Sollbauer, Andersen, J Williams; Ludewig, Mowatt, Styles, Ritzmaier (Palmer 58mins); Simoes (Frieser 52); Chaplin (Schmidt 76), Woodrow.
Unused: Collins, Helik, Schmidt, Thomas, Adeboyejo.
Yellow cards: Woodrow.

Luton: Sluga; Cranie, Bradley, Pearson, Norrington-Davies; Rea; Lee (Lua Lua 62mins), Berry, Mpanzu, Cornick (Bree 81); Collins (Hylton 90+1)
Unused: Shea, Tunnicliffe, Moncur, Clark.
Yellow cards: Berry, Collins, Mpanzu.
Goals: Collins 71.
AS IT HAPPENED
  • 13:48pm
     
    Good afternoon and welcome to the Chronicle’s live text coverage of Barnsley’s first Championship game of the 2020/21 season at home to Luton Town from 3pm.
  • 13:49pm
     
    The team news is set to be revealed at 2pm. Gerhard Struber will name his first line-up since the sale of Jacob Brown to Stoke City this week.
  • 14:00pm
     
    Barnsley team: Walton; Sollbauer, Andersen, J Williams; Ludewig, Mowatt, Styles, Ritzmaier; Simoes; Chaplin, Woodrow. Subs: Collins, Helik, Schmidt, Thomas, Frieser, Adeboyejo, Palmer.
  • 14:00pm
     
    So Marcel Ritzmaier starts at left wing-back, Clarke Oduor is not in the squad and nor is Aapo Halme. Elliot Simoes started behind Cauley Woodrow and Conor Chaplin. New signing Michael Helik is on the bench along with Romal Palmer.
  • 14:05pm
     
    Both clubs enjoyed remarkable runs to survival last year after, in mid-February with 14 games left, Luton were bottom and ten points from safety while Barnsley were second-bottom and nine points adrift.
  • 14:08pm
     
    Four ex-Reds start for Luton (Cranie, Pearson, Lee, Berry) with another four on the bench (Tunnicliffe, Clark, Moncur, Bree).
  • 14:16pm
     
    The Hatters – who re-appointed manager Nathan Jones in lockdown – finished two points and two places above the Reds after they lost just one of their final 12 games of the season.
  • 14:21pm
    Reds head coach Gerhard Struber said: “Luton showed me in the final games that they are a big team in the Championship. In the last nine games they were in the top eight. It is a big opponent. Their style of play with transitions is not so easy to handle.”
  • 14:23pm
     
    Struber added: “I hope we have the concentration and focus to be clear on our defence and it will be difficult in our set pieces as well. We hope for a good performance and a good result. Every opponent who comes to Oakwell must feel it is not easy to play Barnsley and it is sometimes painful.”
  • 14:32pm
     
    Struber, who collected 40 points from 30 games after being appointed in November during a 16-match winless run, is hoping to build on the survival at Brentford in July after being in the relegation zone for 311 days.
  • 14:37pm
     
    The Reds boss said: “I hope for a good start. The last few weeks, the boys showed me in the friendlies and in the cup game that we are ready. We don’t want to wait 16 games for a good season, we start on Saturday with a good performance of high aggression and intensity. We wish to be better at taking chances and to score more goals.”
  • 14:37pm
    Barnsley striker Cauley Woodrow began his career at Luton and played in the FA Trophy before moving to Fulham aged 16 while Town have eight former Barnsley players in their squad.
  • 14:39pm
     
    Two of their signings this summer were former Oakwell academy graduates in Jordan Clark, who joined from Accrington Stanley, and James Bree who joined permanently after a loan from Aston Villa.
  • 14:41pm
     
    Midfielder Clark, from Hoyland, made seven appearances for the Reds while right-back Bree, 22, played 61 games before his move to Aston Villa in January 2017. Luton also have Martin Cranie, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Elliot Lee, George Moncur, Luke Berry and Matty Pearson.
  • 14:46pm
    Bree told the Chronicle: “I love Barnsley FC and I still follow them to this day. The first text I get after every game is from my dad and he will talk about my performance but also tell me the Barnsley result. The end of last season was unbelievable. I watched the Barnsley game against Nottingham Forest and, when they scored in the last minute, I was half-celebrating then I thought: ‘Oh God, what if they finish above us?’”
  • 14:47pm
     
    Bree added: “It didn’t look like they would get out of it with the three games they had at the end of the season but they did amazingly well, like we did. The season finished perfectly for me with both Barnsley and Luton staying up.”
  • 14:49pm
    Luton have released formeer Barnsley captain Jacob Butterfield who scored after a minute when Luton won 3-1 at Oakwell in August of last year, ending the Reds’ 29-game unbeaten run in home league games. The visitors doubled the lead after four minutes then scored another after 31 minutes before Mallik Wilks replied.
  • 14:51pm
     
    Bree said: ““I enjoyed going back last season which was the first time that I played there as an away player. It was a strange experience but it’s always nice to go back home. We’re expecting a much tougher challenge this time. We just showed up that day and had a really good start. The game was quite open but we took our chances. Barnsley showed when we played them at Kenilworth Road that they are a good team.”
  • 14:52pm
    The reverse fixture saw Barnsley draw 1-1 at Kenilworth Road in July, with Aapo Halme levelling in the 84th minute after Berry netted.
  • 14:52pm
     
    Barnsley defender Michael Sollbauer said: “It was a tough game, we have a lot of pressure for both teams. We played a good game, we had a lot of control. They scored but we fought until the end. We had good moments to create chances. This new game will not be easy because Luton showed very good performances last season. We have watched the clips and we know it will be a tough game. But it is not easy to beat Barnsley at the moment.”
  • 14:53pm
     
    Luton won 3-1 at home to Norwich in the EFL Cup on Saturday, with a hat-trick for James Collins.
  • 14:53pm
     
    The clubs have met 61 times, with Barnsley winning 27 and losing 24. The Hatters have not lost any of the last three meetings while they have a good recent record at Oakwell.
  • 14:53pm
     
    In their last 12 visits to Barnsley in the 20th century, they lost 11 and drawn one, but since 2003 they have won four of six games there while the Reds have an identical recent record at Kenilworth Road.
  • 14:55pm
     
    Barnsley have won their first league game of the last two seasons, beating Fulham 1-0 last campaign a year after a 4-0 thrashing of Oxford United.
  • 14:56pm
    Barnsley could equal a club record today as they look to keep a sixth successive clean sheet at Oakwell. The Reds did not concede in any of their final four home games of last season or last week in the EFL Cup against Nottingham Forest.
  • 14:56pm
     
    It is the first run of five clean sheets at home since March 1994 under Viv Anderson. The only times the Reds have kept six straight clean sheets at Oakwell were in 1989 under Allan Clarke and in the 1912 with three of the games being the early rounds of the run to FA Cup glory.
  • 14:57pm
     
    The last away player to score at Oakwell was Cardiff’s Callum Paterson on March 7 – the final game before lockdown. The Reds have kept nine clean sheets in their last 15 games.
  • 14:59pm
    This is Jordan Williams’ 50th game for Barnsley today, having made his debut in 2018 after signing from Huddersfield Town.
  • 15:00pm
     
    GAME UNDERWAY
  • 15:04pm
     
    4 Cauley Woodrow has the first shot of the match. After some good work on the right wing he fires wide from a tight angle
  • 15:07pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Cauley Woodrow has been booked for a foul on Matty Pearson
  • 15:10pm
     
    10 Alex Mowatt shoots over from 30 yards
  • 15:12pm
     
    11 Ex-Red Elliot Lee wins a free-kick on the left wing for a foul by Sollbauer. It is headed away by Mowatt. The ball is recycled and Harry Cornick's cross is headed behind by Andersen but the whistle has gone for the ball being out
  • 15:13pm
     
    Luton on top at the moment, they are having most of the ball – regularly in the home half
  • 15:16pm
     
    15 Luton seem to be targeting the gaps between the centre-backs and wing-backs (a classic weak spot in the formation Barnsley are playing). They are playing plenty of balls into those channels with the likes of Lee and Cornick looking lively without creating a chance so far
  • 15:17pm
     
    16 Luton corner from the left is taken by Berry and headed well clear by Andersen
  • 15:19pm
     
    18 The first big chance of the game is missed by Luton's James Collins. Cornick gets the ball on the right wing and plays a fine ball behind the home defence but Collins fires over sliding in about eight yards out
  • 15:21pm
     
    20 Luton well on top at the moment, They win a corner on the right. Berry takes and Mowatt heads clear
  • 15:22pm
     
    21 Berry takes a free-kick on the left but it is over everyone and out for a goal kick
  • 15:23pm
     
    22 A rare break from Barnsley sees Simoes play in Chaplin on the right of the box and Pearson heads his cross behind for a corner
  • 15:23pm
     
    23 Barnsley's first corner of the season is taken by Styles from the right but Chaplin unsurprisingly loses a header and Luton clear
  • 15:25pm
     
    24 This is better for the Reds. Mowatt gets in a good position on the left of the box but his low cross is cleared
  • 15:26pm
     
    25 Styles' corner is cleared but the ball comes back to him on the left corner of the box and he screws a shot wide
  • 15:28pm
     
    26 Good move by the hosts sees Mowatt and Chaplin pass the ball on to Ludewig on the right of the box but his cross is caught by goalkeeper Sluga
  • 15:28pm
     
    27 Now Pearson heads behind for another corner. The last five minutes have been much much better for Barnsley
  • 15:29pm
     
    28 Styles' corner is played short then his cross is deep to Simoes tries to play it back in but eventually is tackled
  • 15:31pm
     
    30 Ritzmaier penalised for fouling Matty Pearson. He would have been free on the left of the box. 'I didn't do nothing' he screams at the referee
  • 15:32pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Luke Berry is the first Luton player booked
  • 15:35pm
     
    35 First shot on target of the game. It's from Cauley Woodrow who scuffs a shot straight at the goalkeeper from just outside the box after another decent Barnsley move
  • 15:40pm
     
    40 Callum Styles takes a corner from the left. It is headed clear then Mowatt heads the ball back into the box from the edge of the box but it goes just over the bar
  • 15:43pm
     
    Just a few minutes left in this half. It has been far from a classic.
  • 15:44pm
     
    44 Berry's corner kicked away by Styles
  • 15:46pm
     
    45 Andersen is robbed of the ball on the edge of his box, he believes he's been fouled but it gifts the ball to Berry 25 yards out but he shoots over the bar
  • 15:46pm
     
    One extra minute
  • 15:47pm
     
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0, Luton 0
  • 16:04pm
     
    SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
  • 16:08pm
     
    A couple of minutes into the second half. Luton again seeing most of the ball but struggling to break through their hosts
  • 16:11pm
     
    Barnsley's first change comes seven minutes into the second half. Simoes is replaced by Dominik Frieser who makes his Championship debut
  • 16:13pm
     
    Frieser goes up front with Chaplin. Woodrow is just behind them
  • 16:14pm
     
    Romal Palmer is about to come on as well
  • 16:16pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    James Collins booked for sliding in late on Walton
  • 16:17pm
     
    Palmer for Ritzmaier. Styles goes to left wing-back
  • 16:21pm
     
    62 Luton bring on Kazenga Lua Lua for Elliot Lee
  • 16:23pm
     
    This is an extremely scrappy and uninspiring game. There have been no chances for either sides in the second half
  • 16:25pm
     
    67 Luton win a corner on the right. Luke Berry takes it. It is headed away by Mads Andersen who has been dominant in the air today
  • 16:28pm
     
    Barnsley have been better in the last few minutes. Trying to pass their way into Luton's box, with Ludewig and Woodrow prominent, but with no real progress
  • 16:30pm
     
    GOAL!
    James Collins opens the scoring for the visitors
  • 16:31pm
     
    The striker gets the ball in the luton box and blasts into the top right corner
  • 16:34pm
     
    75 Good chance for Frieser to level as he meets a left-wing cross at the back post about five yards out but fires wide
  • 16:36pm
     
    Last Reds change sees Schmidt come on for Chaplin
  • 16:39pm
     
    Approaching the final ten minutes here. It has been a sluggish performance from the Reds, all the way from the goal kicks they passed out of the six yard box but to their lack of flair in the final third
  • 16:39pm
     
    James Bree is coming on for Harry Cornick
  • 16:40pm
     
    81 Bree takes a free-kick on the right and Matty Pearson turns it wide. It just seemed to hit the former Reds player
  • 16:42pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu scythes down Ludewig 25 yards from goal and is booked
  • 16:44pm
     
    84 Barnsley have a chance. Mowatt's free-kick is blocked but falls nicely to Woodrow who slides to shoot on the right of the box but Pearson blocks almost on the line
  • 16:46pm
     
    86 James Bree smashes a corner from the left over everyone and out
  • 16:49pm
     
    Into the 90th minute. The Reds are having most of the ball but struggle to create chances
  • 16:49pm
     
    Four added minutes
  • 16:50pm
     
    Mads Andersen is playing up front for Barnsley
  • 16:50pm
     
    Goal-scorer Collins is replaced by Danny Hylton
  • 16:53pm
     
    90+3 Barnsley win a corner. Styles takes it on the right, It is headed out then Ludewig shoots wide from 25 yards out
  • 16:54pm
     
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 0, Luton 1.