IT was an afternoon of firsts as Barnsley recorded their first back-to-back wins of the season with a 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough thanks to Amine Bassi’s first, and second, goals for the club.
The Reds came into the fixture bottom, nine points off safety, and looking to string together two wins on the bounce, to collect nine points from their last four games.
Boro were seventh in the table, a point outside the top six and six off the top two, but fell one place.
It was a lacklustre first half for the away side which Barnsley, high in confidence but still languishing low in the table, took full advantage of with an early bombardment.
Boro have not won any of their last six league games at Oakwell since a 3-1 success in August 2011, losing four before today’s defeat.
Callum Styles produced the Reds’ first effort five minutes in but his volley was blocked, and Carlton Morris picked up the rebound but Joe Lumley was equal to his strike.
The opener came three minutes later, Mads Andersen netting his first league goal with a header from a pinpoint Amine Bassi cross following a corner.
Marcus Tavernier looked to level in the 15th minute, after cutting inside from the right and skipping past a couple of challenges, but his shot was tame and caught by Brad Collins.
Amine Bassi turned scorer a minute later, a fine left-footed strike which wrong-footed Lumley after Carlton Morris laid the ball off – the impressive midfielder’s first Barnsley goal and a deserved one.
A vibrant start saw the Reds playing as well as they have done this season, but towards the end of the first half they also showed they can dig in – Domingos Quina, Claudio Gomes and Matty Wolfe doing a great job of screening in front of the back three of Michal Helik, Mads Andersen and Jordan Williams who was making his 100th appearance.
The vocal visiting fans – 5,000 of them – called for a penalty in the 34th minute as Duncan Watmore went to ground after teeing up a shot in the penalty box, but other than that they didn’t have a lot to shout about.
A minute later Dael Fry nearly turned into his own net clearing a Jordan Williams cross from the right, before his side broke from the resulting corner and Watmore again went sprawling – but from some good work by Andersen to marshal the ball back to Collins.
Isaiah Jones blazed over from close range as Neil Taylor crossed to the back post – Boro’s first good chance of the half immediately followed by the referee’s whistle.
Bassi’s eyes lit up early in the second half, Quina dribbling down the right and sending a crossfield ball his way – but the Moroccan could only fire wide from the far post.
Styles tested Lumley a minute later, another Morris lay-off teeing him up for a long-range strike from the right channel.
Two changes at half-time saw Boro boss Chris Wilder field a refreshed front line of Folarin Balogun and Aaron Connolly, his preferred strike partnership.
Five minutes in, the two combined and Balogun saw his close-range effort cannon off the left upright as the side mounted a push for a comeback.
But the pressure didn’t lead to anything for a side who had only failed to score once in their last ten games, and Bassi took advantage of some slack defending to hold off Anfernee Dijksteel and send the ball trickling past Lumley for his second of the afternoon.
The visitors grabbed a goal back from the penalty spot, an admittedly soft looking decision as Jones fell while being pressured by Remy Vita on the hour mark.
A hectic few minutes followed as Boro looked to capitalise on their momentum, Connolly netting from Collins' right but the linesman on the opposite side raising his flag on 67 minutes, then Tavernier trying an audacious effort from a dead ball on the right seven minutes later which Collins could only palm away.
A couple of defensively-minded substitutions – Callum Brittain for Bassi and Liam Kitching for Vita – saw the home side grind out a tough final 15 minutes in which Balogun hit the post again and Collins had to be at his best on several occasions.
The last action of the game saw Dael Fry net in confusion fashion to score his side’s second in the dying minutes, but it was far too late to worry the Reds too much.
  • 1:28pm
    Good afternoon and welcome to the Chronicle’s live text coverage of Barnsley’s home game with Middlesbrough from 3pm.
  • 1:30pm
    Team news is due at 2pm. The Reds could name an unchanged side for the first time in a club record 27 league games.
  • 2:00pm
    The Reds are unchanged for the game at Oakwell today as Jordan Williams makes his 100th appearance.
  • 2:01pm
    Team: Collins, Williams, Helik, Andersen, Styles, Vita, Wolfe, Gomes, Quina, Bassi and Morris.
  • 2:02pm
    SUBS: Walton, Halme, Kitching, Palmer, Brittain, Benson and Cole.
  • 2:03pm
    Middlesbrough team: Lumley, Dijksteel, Taylor, Fry, Tavernier, Sporar, Howson, McNair, Watmore, Lea Siliki, Jones.
  • 2:04pm
    SUBS: Daniels, Peltier, Bamba, Connolly, Coburn, Balogun, Boyd-Munce.
  • 2:06pm
    The Reds are bottom, nine points off safety, despite winning two of their last three matches.
  • 2:09pm
    Boro are seventh in the table, a point outside the top six and six off the top two.
  • 2:13pm
    Barnsley head coach Asbaghi said: “We have a lot of home games left and this is one of them, when I look at the schedule, that I think will be a tough, good home game. A couple of weeks ago it would be one thing for us to play Middlesbrough but I am happy we play them now with the confidence of winning a couple of games.”
  • 2:19pm
    Asbaghi added: “It would be a really important and good victory. When people are looking at our schedule they are trying to figure out the games we can win and I don’t think anyone is thinking Middlesbrough is one of them. I don’t think anyone outside Barnsley expects us to even grab a point. We’re eager to show that, on a good day, we can disturb even the best sides.”
  • 2:22pm
    Asbaghi believes the support of the fans will be vital. He said: “If we want to take advantage of being at home, we have to have our 12th player and that is the fans. They gave us good support against QPR and we won that game, now we have two away games with good support, but it feels good to come back home. We have a couple more home games coming up and hopefully we can use them in a good way with the help of the fans.”
  • 2:26pm
    Boro parted company with Neil Warnock – the veteran manager and former Barnsley player – in early November, when they were 15th in the Championship.
  • 2:29pm
    Chris Wilder took over the following day and has led them into promotion contention.
  • 2:31pm
    Only his former club Sheffield United, under Paul Heckingbottom, have collected more Championship points since Wilder was appointed by Boro.
  • 2:32pm
    They had lost just one of the last 15 games in all competitions, winning ten including an FA Cup victory at Manchester United, before Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bristol City.
  • 2:40pm
    They then came from behind to win 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday. That put them in the play-off places but Sheffield United overtook them the next evening.
  • 2:43pm
    Wilder’s only previous trip to Oakwell saw a 3-2 win for Jose Morais’ Barnsley in April 2018 over Sheffield United whom he would take to the Premier League a year later.
  • 2:46pm
    Asbaghi said: “Middlesbrough are in good form, you can see the manager has made it his team. They are really aggressive in their press and marking. They are one of the most aggressive teams I have analysed so far and they have individual quality and a lot of speed and players who are comfortable running into the box. It’s no surprise with their quality that they are competing for the Premier League. Hopefully we can identify areas where we can hurt them.”
  • 2:48pm
    Barnsley lost 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in October in one of Markus Schopp’s final games. Andraz Sporar and Matt Crooks scored as the Reds delivered a very disappointing performance.
  • 2:51pm
    Boro have not won any of their last five league games at Oakwell since a 3-1 success in August 2011, losing four.
  • 2:55pm
    They were beaten 1-0 two years ago this week thanks to Conor Chaplin’s goal then 2-0 last April with strikes by Alex Mowatt and Daryl Dike.
  • 3:01pm
    1 The Reds get us underway.
  • 3:03pm
    2 It's a fairly even start here at Oakwell, Middlesbrough fans in full voice in their sold out away end.
  • 3:05pm
    3 Matty Wolfe picks up the ball and tries to run at Boro defenders. He makes it past a couple but a heavy touch then goes out of play.
  • 3:05pm
    4 Great chance for the Reds. First Callum Styles volleys straight at the Boro defender, then Carlton Morris forces a smart stop out of Lumley.
  • 3:08pm
    7 It's a corner for the Reds, who have been the better team so far. Bassi and Styles standing over it.
  • 3:08pm
    7 It comes to nothing but Barnsley still have the ball.
  • 3:08pm
    Mads Andersen
  • 3:09pm
    8 Mads Andersen does brilliantly and, after staying in the box from the corner, heads in a superb Amine Bassi cross. A thoroughly-deserved lead for the Reds.
  • 3:11pm
    10 It's been even since the goal. Neither side really taken control since the restart.
  • 3:12pm
    11 Corner for Boro.
  • 3:13pm
    11 The corner is low and a Boro player flicks it towards goal, but Matty Wolfe does well to clear.
  • 3:16pm
    14 Tavernier finds some space just outside the Reds box but his tame effort is easily collected by Collins.
  • 3:17pm
    Amine Bassi
  • 3:18pm
    16 Bassi grabs his first goal for the Reds as he sends Lumley the wrong way from the edge of the box. He's been brilliant so far today and it's nothing more than the Reds deserve.
  • 3:19pm
    17 Could have been an instant reply from Boro as Jones flicks it past Vita and fires in a vicious cross - but it's missed by everyone and goes out for a throw in.
  • 3:22pm
    20 Superb from the Reds as Styles pulls down a ball from well up in the air, Quina then does a few step-overs plays a great ball into the box which is narrowly missed by Barnsley players. Good chance.
  • 3:24pm
    23 Break in play as Quina is down injured.
  • 3:25pm
    24 The game is back on and Quina looks ok.
  • 3:28pm
    27 Good play by the Reds sees Vita break through but his cross isn't good enough to reach a Barnsley player. They do have a free kick in a decent crossing position. Bassi and Styles over it.
  • 3:30pm
    29 Corner for Boro, who have come into the game in the last few minutes.
  • 3:32pm
    30 Sporar has a chance for Boro but he swings wildly and misses the ball completely.
  • 3:34pm
    32 A free kick for the Reds sees Andersen on his own again but he can't get the right contact and it's straight into Lumley's arms.
  • 3:35pm
    33 Watmore goes over theatrically in the box after Jones broke free from Vita. Ref waves away the appeals.
  • 3:36pm
    35 Great counter attack by Barnsley sees Williams free on the right. He crosses and Fry is forced to clear it for a Barnsley corner.
  • 3:40pm
    39 Fairly open game at the minute - neither side completely in control. The Reds look dangerous when they're on the attack.
  • 3:44pm
    42 Nothing much has happened in the last ten minutes or so - the game is completely even but Boro have a corner.
  • 3:44pm
    43 It's headed out by a Reds defender for another corner.
  • 3:47pm
    Two minutes added on.
  • 3:49pm
    45+2 Great chance for the visitors right on the stroke of half time as Neil Taylor crosses to Jones, but his volley is way over.
  • 3:50pm
    HALF TIME: Barnsley go in at half-time leading 2-0 for the second consecutive game. The Reds have been cheered off, whilst the Boro players are getting booed and receiving abuse as they leave the pitch.
  • 4:04pm
    James Lea Siliki
  • 4:04pm
    SUB ON
    Folarin Balogun
  • 4:05pm
    Duncan Watmore
  • 4:05pm
    SUB ON
    Aaron Connolly
  • 4:05pm
    46 The away side get the second half underway.
  • 4:06pm
    46 Quick start for the Reds sees Bassi volley wide after a Quina cross.
  • 4:07pm
    47 Another good chance as Morris lays off Styles, whose effort is saved well by Lumley. Good opening exchanges for the Reds.
  • 4:09pm
    49 Great chance for Boro as Balogun sees his strike come back off the post before Vita cleared. It's the away side's best chance of the game.
  • 4:10pm
    51 Corner for Boro as Andersen tackles Balogun as he looks to shoot. The Boro striker has looked lively.
  • 4:13pm
    53 Sporar looks certain to score for the away side but it's a fantastic block by Williams.
  • 4:14pm
    Amine Bassi
  • 4:14pm
    54 It's fantastic from the Moroccan who looks to have missed the chance to score, but he nutmegs the keeper. Great goal.
  • 4:16pm
    57 It's an incredibly hectic second half, the ball is going from end to end. Both sides look dangerous when they attack.
  • 4:19pm
    59 Wolfe goes on a great run and bursts into the box but the ball bounces off him and out for a goal kick. The home fans give him a great cheer for his efforts, though.
  • 4:19pm
    60 Penalty Boro. Vita brings down Jones.
  • 4:20pm
    Andraz Sporar
  • 4:21pm
    61 It looked a very soft penalty as Jones just fell over, but Sporar fires into the back of the net. Half an hour left for the Reds to hold onto their lead.
  • 4:21pm
    Remy Vita
  • 4:23pm
    63 Boro completely on top down. Connolly should score for the away side but he slips as he's about to shoot.
  • 4:25pm
    65 Another corner for Boro, they've had a few in the last few minutes. Howson to take again.
  • 4:27pm
    67 Boro have the ball in the back of the net and the away fans go mental . The linesman then flags for offside.
  • 4:27pm
    Remy Vita
  • 4:27pm
    SUB ON
    Callum Brittain
  • 4:28pm
    Amine Bassi
  • 4:28pm
    SUB ON
    Liam Kitching
  • 4:28pm
    69 It's a defensive move for the Reds who will need all the grit they have to hold on.
  • 4:28pm
    Neil Taylor
  • 4:28pm
    SUB ON
    Caolon Boyd-Munce
  • 4:31pm
    72 Liam Kitching is booked as he brings down Jones just outside the penalty area. Really sloppy.
  • 4:32pm
    73 Tavernier shoots straight at Collins who punches clear.
  • 4:33pm
    74 It's all Boro still here at Oakwell. The Reds are almost camped inside their own half.
  • 4:34pm
    75 Corner Boro as Helik heads behind a Balogun cross - but it comes to nothing.
  • 4:37pm
    Carlton Morris
  • 4:37pm
    SUB ON
    Devante Cole
  • 4:39pm
    Brad Collins
  • 4:39pm
    80 Brad Collins is booked for time wasting.
  • 4:41pm
    81 Boro are continuously on the attack but Barnsley are doing well to keep them out for now.
  • 4:41pm
    82 Devante Cole slides in and completely misses the ball. Free kick for Boro just outside the area.
  • 4:45pm
    85 Brittain does well to shield the ball out for a goal kick. Five minutes left of normal time here - the Reds will have to continue to defend well if they're to win this game.
  • 4:48pm
    87 Balogun hits the post for the second time this half - it looked certain to be going in.
  • 4:49pm
    89 One minute left of normal time and the Reds continue to hold off Middlesbrough as they attack.
  • 4:50pm
    Five minutes added on
  • 4:51pm
    90+1 Boro are throwing everything they can at the Reds right now, but they aren't finding many clear cut chances.
  • 4:54pm
    90+4 It's a corner for Boro.
  • 4:55pm
    Dael Fry
  • 4:55pm
    90+4 Fry taps into an empty goal.
  • 4:56pm
    FULL TIME: The Reds hold on and pick up all three points. Thoroughly deserved as they controlled the game for 60 minutes. Boro came on strong in the last half an hour but were unable to score three to level the game. Reds up to third bottom.