Barnsley’s miserable season hit a new low as they were crushed 4-1 at Millwall, leaving them eight points from safety with six games to play.

The hosts led 1-0 at the break then scored a second minutes into the second half and, after Romal Palmer replied quickly, they added two more goals. It was the joint heaviest loss of the season with the November beating at Fulham.

Fourth-bottom Reading lost 2-1 at home to Cardiff City so Barnsley are eight points adrift of safety with a game in hand.

But the performance suggested they have no hope of survival as, after missing big early chances, they conceded a series of poor goals and looked a broken side in the second half. They looked a broken team in the second half.

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Romal Palmer replaced Matty Wolfe in the only change from the draw with Reading. Isaac Christie-Davies was on the bench for the first time since New Year’s Day 2021.

Barnsley began very brightly with Callum Brittain swapping passes with Palmer then breaking into the right of the box before his shot from a tight angle was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Millwall then began to get on top with Brad Collins easily gathering from a cross-come-shot by Scott Malone and a flicked shot by Oliver Burke from Danny McNamara’s right-wing cross.

The hosts should have taken the lead when Remy Vita lost the ball near halfway and Millwall got behind Barnsley but Burke’s weak cross was cut out by Brittain when he should have played Benik Afobe clean through. That led to two successive corners with Murray Wallace heading wide from the second.

Barnsley had to change their goalkeeper midway through the first half due to an injury to Collins’ left shoulder. He tried to carry on but, after saving a soft Dan Ballard header, he went down and had to be replaced by Jack Walton who made his first league appearance since January last year.

Walton made a comfortable save after Jake Cooper met a left-wing corner but headed into the ground.

Styles missed a big chance on 28 minutes when he was put clean through by Morris, who did very well well to see off defenders, but Bialkowski again saved one-on-one.

It was 1-0 to the hosts soon after when Jed Wallace was played behind the defence and, with Vita playing him onside, was totally unmarked so he could drive into the box and cross to the back post when Danny McNamara was unmarked and fired into the bottom right corner from close range.

Very little happened in the remainder of the second half then but the start to the second was frantic.

The hosts doubled their lead 75 seconds after the interval when Malone was given too much space to cross from the left and it was met by the unmarked McNamara who headed into the top right corner from close range.

Palmer replied within two minutes as he smashed a fine strike into the top left corner after Morris headed down a left-wing cross.

But the hosts restored their two-goal lead on 58 minutes. Amine Bassi should have cleared following a corner but lost the ball and out was moved to right then crossed into the box for Ballard whose header was brilliantly pushed onto the bar by Walton but Burke tapped in.

Ballard then could have made it 4-1 as he met a corner from the left but headed straight at Walton when he should have scored.

Quina’s swerving effort was pushed away by the goalkeeper from 30 yards.

It was 4-1 after a free-kick was headed down by Cooper to Afobe who was totally unmarked and fired into the bottom right corner from close range.

Barnsley capitulated in the second half, with Millwall regularly threatening from set pieces and been gifted the ball by slopping Reds passing.

Millwall (3-4-1-2): Bialkowski; Ballard, Cooper, M Wallace; McNamara (Leonard 81mins), Mitchell, Kieftenbeld, Malone; J Wallace (Bradshaw 60); Burke (Burey 76), Afobe.

Unused: Long, Ojo, Saville, Evans.

Goals: McNamara 32, 47; Burke 58, Afobe 73.

Barnsley (4-2-3-1): Collins (Walton 24 mins); Brittain, Andersen, Kitching, Vita; Palmer (Iseka 71), Gomes; Styles (Adeboyejo 61) , Bassi, Quina; Morris.

Unused: Moon, Christie-Davies, Oduor, Wolfe.

Goals: Palmer 49.

AS IT HAPPENED
  • Game under way
  • 3:03pm
    Good start for Reds. Brittain played in on right by Palmer and forces save. Visitors looking good
  • 3:06pm
    Barnsley still the better side but the game has settled a bit
  • 3:07pm
    7 Millwall's first real attack and they win a corner on the left
  • 3:08pm
    8 Millwall take the corner shot and Malone's cross-come-shot is easily gathered by Collins
  • 3:10pm
    Callum Styles down clutching his leg
  • 3:12pm
    Styles back on and trying to run it off
  • 3:14pm
    13 McNamara cross from the right, Burke touches it and towards gathers easily
  • 3:16pm
    14 Big chance for Millwall after Vita loses the ball. Burke is behind the defence and tries to put Afobe clean through but it is a weak cross and Brittain clears
  • 3:17pm
    Collins now down with injury
  • 3:18pm
    15 Murray Wallace headed a Malone corner wide. Millwall getting on top here
  • 3:21pm
    It's been pretty scrappy in the last few minutes. Barnsley haven't got forward much since the opening five minutes when they looked very good
  • 3:22pm
    Collins down again and might have to come off
  • 3:23pm
    Jack Walton coming on for the injured Collins
  • 3:25pm
    Massive blow for the Reds. Another one of the few consistent players this season is now injured, after Helik last week
  • 3:27pm
    YELLOW CARD
    Kitching booked for bringing down Burke when he was about to run into the box from the left Liam Kitching
  • 3:27pm
    Free-kick from the left headed down by Cooper into the ground and easily saved
  • 3:28pm
    28. Huge chance for Barnsley. Callum Styles goes through on goal on the right. Bialkowski saves one on one
  • 3:31pm
    GOAL!
    Danny McNamara opens the scoring from close range
  • 3:33pm
    Jed Wallace looked to be in a lot of space as he got the ball on the left but no offside given and he drove into the box and crossed with the right-back finding the bottom right corner
  • 3:36pm
    Missed chances, fallen behind. How many times has that happened this season?
  • 3:36pm
    Missed chances, fallen behind. How many times has that happened this season?
  • 3:42pm
    Reading are winning. Nightmare scenario for there Reds at the moment but a long way to go this afternoon
  • 3:42pm
    43 Styles free-kick on the right headed away
  • 3:45pm
    Five added minutes in this half
  • 3:46pm
    45+1 Scott Malone's left wing corner headed out by Quina
  • 3:51pm
    HALF-TIME: Millwall 1, Barnsley 0. Brittain and Styles have missed decent one on one chances but the hosts have had the better of the game overall and the Reds conceded a sloppy goal.
  • 4:04pm
    SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
  • 4:06pm
    GOAL!
    Danny McNamara doubles the lead
  • 4:08pm
    GOAL!
    Romal Palmer smashes into the top left corner
  • 4:10pm
    Good ball into the box, Morris heads it down and Palmer smashes into the top left corner
  • 4:11pm
    Now Bassi curls a free-kick over
  • 4:17pm
    GOAL!
    Oliver Burke makes it 3-1
  • 4:21pm
    Really poor from Amine Bassi – he should blast clear on the edge of the box but loses it, Millwall cross from the right, Walton brilliantly saved from a header but Burke taps in.
  • 4:21pm
    Adeboyejo replaces Styles
  • 4:23pm
    Big chance for 4-1 but Ballard heads a corner straight at Walton. He should score
  • 4:26pm
    Quina's swerving shot is pushed away from about 25 yards
  • 4:27pm
    Quina's swerving shot is pushed away from about 25 yards
  • 4:28pm
    The internet here went down early in the Second half just as all the goals went in so let's recap. McNamara got his second of the game. after. 75 seconds of the second half, having never scored an EFL goal before. He headed in from close range after a cross from the left. Barnsley will again be disappointed with their defending.
  • 4:30pm
    Iseka comes on for Palmer
  • 4:32pm
    GOAL!
    Benik Afobe fires in another a free-kick is headed down
  • 4:34pm
    Really poor defending allowing Afobe plenty of space well inside the box and he fires across Walton into the bottom corner
  • 4:38pm
    This has been a nightmare afternoon for the Reds. Reading are now drawing but this will be hard to recover from
  • 4:43pm
    Tom Bradshaw comes on for Millwall
  • 4:46pm
    Cardiff now winning at Reading so the gap will remain at eight points if that stays the same
  • 4:46pm
    But Barnsley have to look after their own performances and they have collapsed this afternoon
  • 4:47pm
    Millwall break and should score a gifted but substitute Burey allows Vita to come back and tackle him
  • 4:50pm
    Barnsley nearly concede a penalty but it]'s a free-kick inches outside
  • 4:51pm
    Malone smashes his free-kick across the goal and out
  • 4:53pm
    FULL-TIME: Millwall 4, Barnsley 1. The Reds suffer their joint heaviest loss of the season and, although the gap looks likely to remain at eight points, they looked a broken team in the second half