Barnsley increased the gap between them and the side outside League One’s top six with a 2-1 win at Oxford United on Wednesday night.

Bobby Thomas got his first goal for the Reds then Nicky Cadden also opened his account for 2-0.

The hosts pulled one back and missed a series of chances as the Reds hung on for a narrow win.

Barnsley are now five points clear in the play-off places.

Devante Cole came in for the departed Jack Aitchison. New signings Oli Shaw and Harry Isted were on the bench, as was young centre-back Rudi Pache who signed a new deal today.

Oxford missed a big chance in the third minute when Billy Bodin was played clean through but fired wide of the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.

Five minutes later Barnsley came very close as, after a surging run by Liam Kitching, he played James Norwood clean through and the shot was cleared off the line by Cameron Brannagan.

Thomas then met Luca Connell’s left-wing corner but his header looped to the goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

Brannagan, Oxford’s star man, came off with an injury midway through the first half then the hosts had a spell of pressure but could not break down the visiting defence despite a series of corners.

Barnsley netted against the run of play with a fine goal. Adam Phillips’ excellent cross from the right was met by Thomas who appeared to loop a header inside the left post. There were claims of an own goal by Elliott Moore.

The hosts almost levelled minutes later when Kyle Joseph cut in from the right then blazed a shot across goal and wide from about 12 yards out. The same player fired well over from a similar distance after Yanic Wildschut ran down the left and cut a powerful ball back to him.

Cole almost made it two but was just beaten to a throughball by the home goalkeeper, then Connell flashed a powerful shot across goal from the left of the box.

Phillips flicked a Kitching cross wide at the near post early in the second half.

The second goal arrived just before the hour-mark. Cole sprinted down the right wing then, after his cross was blocked, passed to Kane who moved it onto the unmarked Cadden who impressively found the bottom right corner from about 12 yards out.

Norwood was very close to making it 3-0 minutes later but denied by Eastwood’s outstretched left leg when through one-on-one.

Home substitute Tyler Smith should have pulled one back when a ball over the top put him one-on-one with Collins but he made a mess of an attempted lob and the goalkeeper easily caught.

Oxford eventually pulled one back with 20 minutes left when Moore headed home a left-wing corner.

Barnsley were then put under a lot of pressure and their crossbar was rattled by Ciaran Brown after another left-wing corner caused problems.

Oxford’s Lewis Bate blasted over ten yards out on the right of the box after a left-wing cross fell to him.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Collins; B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Kane, Connell, Phillips, Cadden; Cole (Watters 72mins), Norwood (Martin 89).

Unused: Isted, Shaw, Pache, Oduor, Larkeche.

Yellow cards: Kane, Andersen, Collins.

Goals: Thomas 32, Cadden 59.

Oxford (4-3-3): Eastwood; Long, Moore, Brown, Anderson (Goodrham. 64mins), Brannagan (McGuane 23), Bate (O’Donkor 85), Bodin, Konate (Smith 64), Joseph, Wildschut.

Unused: McGinty, Fleming, Findlay.

Goals: Moore 70.

  • 7:47pm
    2 Kane corner cleared, played back to him. He plays in Phillips on the right but the low cross is caught by the goalkeeper
  • 7:48pm
    Big chance for the hosts. Billy Bodin is played clean through and shoots for the bottom right corner but it goes inches wide
  • 7:49pm
    A really open start both teams having joy when they go forward and getting players in behind the back lines
  • 7:51pm
    7 Barnsley free-kick about 40 yards out on the left. Taken by Connell. Headed out
  • 7:53pm
    Now a big chance for the Reds. Excellent run by Kitching who plays in Norwood in the box. His shot lacks power and even though it beats the goalkeeper, it is cleared off the line by a defender
  • 7:56pm
    12 Kane free-kick headed behind for a corner
  • 7:57pm
    12 Connell corner on the left. Headed towards goal by Bobby Thomas about 15 yards out but goalkeeper Simon Eastwood catches
  • 7:57pm
    Oxford then cough up possession near their box and Phillips has a shot blocked. There is so much space in the Oxford half for Barnsley attackers
  • 7:58pm
    Barnsley the better side at the moment. Oxford struggling to keep the ball
  • 8:00pm
    A period of Oxford pressure ends with Andersen heading behind for a corner
  • 8:01pm
    16 Oxford corner on the right. Punched out by Collins at his near post
  • 8:02pm
    Lovely move on the left involved king Kane, Connell and Cadden but the latter just slightly overhits a pass to Kitching who would have been in on the left of the box.
  • 8:04pm
    One of the ends behind a goal here at the Kassam Stadium has no stand. I can see a Frankie and Benny's and a cinema
  • 8:04pm
    An Oxford player is down getting treatment so the players are having a quick drinks break
  • 8:05pm
    It's Oxford's star man Brannagan who is down. He's hobbling off now. Not sure if he will return
  • 8:07pm
    Brannagan comes back on, kicks the ball and goes down in a heap. He will be replaced
  • 8:09pm
    Marcus McGuane replaces Brannagan. A big blow for Oxford as Brannagan is their top scorer with seven goals from midfield
  • 8:09pm
    24 Oxford corner on the left. Bodin takes. Williams heads out then Kane deflects the next cross for another corner
  • 8:10pm
    25 Oxford corner on the left by Billy Bodin taken short to Ateef Konate who runs it out of play
  • 8:11pm
    A third corner for Oxford in the last couple of minutes as Williams heads a long ball behind
  • 8:11pm
    The corner is headed out
  • 8:12pm
    Barnsley having to do a lot of defending now, although the hosts are yet to create a b ig chance since Bodin missed early on
  • 8:13pm
    Barnsley haven't had much of the ball in the last five minutes or so. Oxford on top at the moment
  • 8:14pm
    But as I type that Oxford play a powerful pass back to their goalkeeper who slices behind for a corner
  • 8:14pm
    30 Kane's corner on the right is cleared
  • 8:15pm
    Bobby Thomas heads in a Phillips cross
  • 8:18pm
    Really good goal. Fantastic cross by Phillips and Thomas brilliantly looped a header just inside the left post. It came a bit against the run of play after the Reds weathered a pressure of home pressure, mainly corners.
  • 8:20pm
    Chance for an almost immediate leveller. Kyle Joseph cuts in from the right in the box and fires across goal and wide
  • 8:25pm
    Oxford now having a small spell of pressure but Barnsley again looking solid so far
  • 8:25pm
    41 Collins punches a long throw behind for a corner
  • 8:26pm
    41 Left wing corner is easily caught by Collins
  • 8:27pm
    Chance for 2-0. Cole runs onto long ball in box and almost gets there before the goalkeeper but cannot quite get anything on it
  • 8:30pm
    Yanic Wildschut bursts down the left and cuts the ball back for Joseph who skies well over from about 12 yards out. It came to him quite fast to be fair but a bad miss
  • 8:31pm
    Three added minutes
  • 8:32pm
    45+1 Barnsley win a corner on the left
  • 8:33pm
    45+2 Connell corner on the left is headed out then Connell fires a powerful shot from the left across the face of goal
  • 8:33pm
    HALF-TIME: Oxford 0, Barnsley 1
  • 8:50pm
  • 8:52pm
    Oxford long throw on the left. Headed out for a corner
  • 8:53pm
    49 Corner on the left headed out by Williams
  • 8:54pm
    49 Chance for the Reds, Kitching crosses low from the left and Phillips flicks towards goal at the near post but wide
  • 8:55pm
    Another long throw for Oxford, dropped by Collins but it is cleared. Then there is a nervous moment when an Oxford attacker nearly latches onto a. throughball but the goalkeeper this time pounces on it
  • 8:57pm
    Liam Kitching is having a great game, doing well at the back then. surging forward. He has set up two chances as well
  • 9:00pm
    A calm period in the game now which will suit the Reds
  • 9:01pm
    The home crowd. getting. frustrated with some of their side's poor. forward passing, which will be music to Barnsley's ears
  • 9:03pm
    Nicky Cadden gets his first goal for the Reds
  • 9:04pm
    Great work by Cole who powers down the right wing and, after a cross is blocked, passes to Kane who finds Cadden to shoot into the bottom right corner
  • 9:07pm
    Huge chance for 3-0. Norwood is one on one with the goalkeeper who sticks out his left foot to save and just keep his side in the game
  • 9:11pm
    Huge chance for the hosts. Debutant Tyler Smith is played clean through by a ball over the. top. but he tries to lob Collins and. gets it all wrong, kicking it straight to the goalkeeper
  • 9:11pm
    Collins went down after that chance and has had treatment. He looks set to carry on
  • 9:15pm
    That goal by Cadden was the first by Barnsley's number seven for 111 appearances by the wearers of that shirt since Jacob Brown v Blackburn in July 2020
  • 9:16pm
    Elliott Moore heads in a left wing corner
  • 9:17pm
    That has whipped the home crowd up after they were getting very angry
  • 9:17pm
    Barnsley haven;'t defended that well today and will be disappointed with that
  • 9:18pm
    Watters has come on for Cole
  • 9:20pm
    Oxford free-kick about 25 yards out It. is blocked by the wall
  • 9:20pm
    Then hosts really putting a. lot of pressure on now. They win a corner
  • 9:21pm
    76 Left wing corner headed up then kicked onto the bar by Moore
  • 9:22pm
    Barnsley hanging on here
  • 9:24pm
    Another corner to the hosts. They are well on top
  • 9:25pm
    Corner is scrambled away but cross put back. in and. Lewis Bate blasts over in space about ten yards out on the right
  • 9:27pm
    83 Kane plays in Norwood on left and his lofted cross is inches from Watters' head
  • 9:30pm
    Into the final five minutes now. It has been nearly all Oxford for the last 20
  • 9:33pm
    This has been a combination of heroic defending and riding luck to maintain Barnsley's lead in the second half
  • 9:33pm
    There is a. drinks. break with James Norwood down injured
  • 9:34pm
    Norwood replaced by Martin
  • 9:35pm
    Into the 90th minute. Martin wins a corner which will waste valuable seconds
  • 9:35pm
    Eight added minutes
  • 9:36pm
    The. match. has calmed down a bit recently after that huge spell of pressure for the hosts
  • 9:38pm
    90+4 Free-kick to Oxford in. a dangerous central position about 25 yards out
  • 9:39pm
    90+4 Bodin free-kick hits wall, Collins catches follow-up cross
  • 9:40pm
    Josh Martin has kept the ball well since coming on, running the clock down
  • 9:40pm
    90+6 Oxford long throw headed out by Andersen
  • 9:42pm
    Into the final minute. of the eight added. Barnsley have seen it out well so far. They win a free-kick on the left wing so should see it out from here
  • 9:44pm
    Into the 100th minute
  • 9:44pm
    FULL-TIME: Oxford 1, Barnsley 2. The Reds had to endure intense pressure in the second half but get a big away win