Valerien Ismael says Daryl Dike's winning goal against Birmingham City was like nothing he has ever seen before.

The 20-year-old American – who signed on transfer deadline day – smashed an incredibly powerful shot into the top corner early in the second half of the 1-0 win.

Ismael told the Chronicle: "It was exactly in my angle and I can tell you it's something unbelievable. I have never seen that in my career in 28 or 29 years in football.

"My first thought was to the board, especially Dane Murphy (chief executive), with the last-minute transfer of Dike. It was very very important. It is a reward for everyone in the club being on the same page. It shows how important a transfer window is for the club."

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Dike also impressed with his physical presence, winning ten aerial battles. Ismael said: "That (winning headers up front) was our problem when I came. I knew after the game in Cardiff. We change it with Carlton (Morris) and Dike and you see their impact."

Barnsley are now in the final play-off place with 12 games remaining, including a game in hand on most sides around them. They are on a seven-match winning run which is their longest ever in the second tier.

Ismael said: "For the guys it is unbelievable. You see what you can achieve when you are ready to work really hard, when everyone is on the same page and we have the hunger. It puts us in a great position and situation at the moment, with one game in hand against Derby on Wednesday.

"The important games are coming so you don't need to look at the table. Wednesday will be a fight then after it will be Bournemouth. After the Sheffield Wednesday game it is the international break and we will have a more clear picture. We just need to keep the pace and intensity and play with even more belief and conviction."

Birmingham shaded the first half, creating chances from set pieces, but created very little after Dike's goal.

Ismael said: "The opponent came with a clear gameplan to take the football players out of the game. We had to defend long balls and second balls. Sometimes the feeling was the ball was one hour in the air and you never can press or play. But we had to stay strong.

We had to deal with it. We knew that, in the second half, we could make chances and put pressure on them and we did it with a brilliant strike from Dike then after we stayed strong and kept the clean sheet."

Ismael took off left wing-back Callum Styles and forward Dominik Frieser at half-time, with Jordan Williams and Carlton Morris coming on.

"The thinking was to control (Yan) Valery on the right side. We had issues with his pace so we put Jordan Williams on to control his runs. We put Carlton on to keep the ball up front and win some free-kicks then we put Aapo (Halme, who replaced Romal Palmer on 58 minutes) on to win headers and to control everything in the air and the second ball."

Williams added: "The gaffer said to come on and do my bit. I have a bit more pace than Stylesy but Stylesy has been excellent for us. It was good to get minutes under my belt but the win is the main thing.

"It was a very tough game. They came here for a point, I think, but we dug deep and got a great goal to win it. We ground it out and got a clean sheet. Momentum is on our side at the moment."