Michael Duff said Barnsley were ‘good value’ for a 3-1 win over Portsmouth and called the opening goal at the exact time of a tribute to unwell club employee Beth Sefton ‘a poignant moment.’
James Norwood and Nicky Cadden put the Reds 2-0 up then, after Portsmouth replied in the second half, Devante Cole secured the win to move them up to fourth.
Head coach Duff said: “I thought we were good value for it. We totally dominated the first half and were a little bit disappointed we weren’t out of sight against a good team on good form. The press was really good and we scored good goals. We had more composure than on Saturday (a 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers) and connected more passes before the final pass.
“We gifted them a goal, it’s a good cross and finish but they should have never got to that opportunity. To get back on the front foot was pleasing. We didn’t try to protect what we had. We got the third then saw the win out comfortably.”
Norwood’s opener came at the same time as home fans shone lights in the stands for Sefton, the head of ticketing who has been seriously ill in hospital.
Duff said: “It was quite a poignant moment. The lights flashed up just as Nors whacked in the net. We’re all still thinking about Beth and wishing her well. Hopefully she is staying strong and getting better and better. It was a good goal, from the press then with a good quality pass and finish.”
Cadden made it 2-0 three minutes later with a fine long-range strike after cutting in from the right flank, despite being a left wing-back. Duff said: “It’s a little bit of individual brilliance. He keeps telling us he’s a goal-scoring wing-back but we haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully there are a few more to come.”
Cadden added: “I was thinking I haven’t scored at Oakwell. I was delighted. It’s a monkey off my back.
“It was a corner or throw-in, they broke and I didn’t have time to run across. I saw Nors win the ball in the middle, it went to Phillo (Adam Philllips) then me. I thought I would try my luck and it went in.”
The East Stand was closed due to some loose cladding, so fans were moved into the other three stands.
Duff said: “A lot of credit goes to the people behind the scenes because it was unprecedented, nobody expected it to happen and people worked late into the night to try to make sure the game went ahead. Credit to the supporters because I have been here long enough to know the South Yorkshire thing is to say ‘I knew something would go wrong’. But they turned up on a freezing cold night.”