Immense- Absolutely Immense.
The Reds travelled to the Britannia Stadium tonight with the worst defensive record and joint worst away record in the entire league, playing against a team who had conceded just NINE league goals at home all season.
And in the ensuring 90 minutes Barnsley got one chance, took it and then defended better than they have all season- albeit admittedly against a woeful Stoke attack.
There was fear amongst the brave Barnsley travellers and the thousands watching on TV screens when Paul Heckingbottom and Neil Austin were chosen as the two full-backs and although both endured shaky starts, both improved, Austin in particular.
It wasn't a pretty game for the neutrals and indeed Barnsley's four SKY games this season have only produced 6 goals with only one game - the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff being won by more than one goal and tonight was only the second time the Reds have scored on SKY this season and was their first victory in front of the cameras since the Play-Off Final.
Stoke, understandably buoyed by their great 2-0 win at Derby in mid-week, started off the brighter and Aston Villa loanee Lee Hendrie threatened to tear Barnsley apart.
But with Stoke missing their two most influential strikers Vincent Pericard and Ricardo Fuller they lacked a killer edge and didn't force Nick Colgan, who recovered from his injury against Hull, into a single save.
In fact Barnsley could have snatched the lead in the opening 20 seconds.
Ferenczi laid off the ball to strike-partner Peter Rajczi who managed to squeeze the ball through Stoke's defence but Martin Devaney's snap shot was straight at Potteries keeper Steve Simonsen.
Stoke though began to gain control but again the lack of a genuine goal threat let them down and the inform £250,000 Istvan Ferenczi showed them what a striker can do with his 4th goal in just 3 starts 2 minutes before half-time.
Rajczi showed his lethal turn of pace to surge through before attempting to slip a ball through to Ferenczi.
Covering defender Jonathan Fortune, currently on loan from Premiership strugglers Charlton, slipped, and Ferenczi raced clear before showing how much confidence he has by burying an effort past Simonsen.
We all knew what we would be in for in the second half.
Backs to the walls and nails severely bitten.
But although Stoke dominated possession the closest they came was when Grant McCann headed a Mamady Sidibe header off the line after he met a great corner from Hendrie.
Referee Phil Joslin found 5 additional minutes from somewhere but still The Reds held firm with defensive pair, Paul Reid and Lewin Nyatanga outstanding!
The win lifted The Reds out of the bottom three and level on points with Norwich City who travel to Oakwell on Saturday with The Reds looking to avenge a 5-1 thrashing at Carrow Road.
Back to back wins against Luton and QPR proved to be a false dawn in January, lets all hope these back to back wins in February herald a push towards Championship survival.
COME ON YOU REDS!!!
Nick Colgan: Despite Stoke dominating possession, Nick had one of his quietest games of the season!. 7
Paul Heckingbottom: Stoke rightly targeted him as the weak link in the first half and while still looking short of Championship standard, it wasn't his worst game. 6
Paul Reid ©: Has looked too slow for this level at times this season but tonight led by example. Outstanding captains display. Booked.8
Lewin Nyatanga: Like Reid was outstanding. And looks like a real find. The 2 clean sheets in a row have been mainly down to this man. 8
Neil Austin: First start since the 6th January and although shaky to begin with was very impressive in the second half to keep Hendrie quiet. 7
Brian Howard: Quiet by his standards but in a game that required defensive resolve rather than attacking quality, he played his part. 7
Grant McCann: Kept Barnsley in front by heading off the line in the second half and looked assured on the ball. 7
Sam Togwell: Best performance in my opinion. He finally did something. Tigerish tackling for once! 7
Martin Devaney: Looked out of place tonight. His attempts to play the ball past the man and then run onto it failed to come off and repeatedly lost possession. Booked. 5
Istvan Ferenczi: 3 appearances 4 goals. What more do you want from a striker? This guys goals could well keep us up. Booked.8
Peter Rajczi: Lovely ball through for Ferenczi's goal. Was quieter than usual but like with Howard, attacking threat wasn't required tonight. Booked. Subbed. 7
Kyel Reid (for Rajczi 82) Fresh legs to keep Stoke on their toes. 6
David Lucas, Robert Atkinson, Ritchie Jones, Marc Richards
Sky's Man of the Match: Paul Reid
BarnsleyBoy's Man of the Match: Reid is a very worthy candidate, he and Nyatanga were immense but for all the criticism he has taken this season I'm very happy for Reid to have his moment!
Most Impressed by Stoke City's: Lee Hendrie. A class act all game.
Ref Watch: Phil Joslin: Too fussy and handed out too many bookings. 5
Coca-Cola Championship Results:
Friday 23rd February 2007:
Cardiff 4-1 Preston
Saturday 24th February 2007:
Colchester 0-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace 2-1 Luton
Hull 2-0 Birmingham
Leicester 1-1 West Brom
Norwich 1-1 Coventry
QPR 1-1 Plymouth
Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 Southend
Southampton 1-0 Ipswich
Sunderland 2-1 Derby
Wolves 1-0 Leeds
Monday 26th February 2007:
Stoke 0-1 Barnsley
Barnsley lie in 19th place in the Coca Cola Championship with 38 points from 35 games. We are 21
points off the Play-Offs, 25 points off the Automatic Promotion Places, 25 points off First Place and 3 points above the Relegation Zone.
Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Thirty Six Barnsley v Norwich City Saturday 3rd March 2007 Kick-Off 3pm
Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Thirty Seven Barnsley v Sunderland Saturday 10th March 2007 Kick-Off 1:30pm PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER KICK-OFF TIME!!!
Tickets for the big game are priced at:
East Stand and West Stand Upper Tiers
Juveniles (U11) £7.00
Barnsley Chronicle Family Area
Juveniles (U11) £7.00
East Stand Lower and West Stand Lower
Juveniles (U11) £6.00
Enterprise PLC Stand (Pontefract Road End)
Juveniles (U11) £6.00
All Disabled Areas £20.00
Helpers FREE OF CHARGE
To book tickets for forthcoming matches simply phone the Oakwell Box Office on 01226 211200. Alternatively call at the Box Office in person; contact the Box Office by fax on 01226 211444 or e-mail email@example.com. Please note that Juvenile U11 tickets must be purchased in advance from the Oakwell Box Office and this price will not be on sale on the turnstiles under any circumstances.
On The Road:
Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Thirty Eight Plymouth Argyle v Barnsley Wednesday 14th March 2007 Kick-Off 7:45pm
Adults - £22.00
Senior Citizens (Over 65) - £15.00
Students (With Valid NUS Card) £15.00
Juveniles (Under 16) - £6.00
Official Reds On The Road coaches will be making the trip to Home Park.
Coaches will depart Oakwell at 1pm on the day of the game.