Barnsley slumped to their third league defeat in the opening four games in what looks like being Gerhard Struber’s final game as head coach.
The 43 year old Austrian looks set to take over at New York Red Bulls (with a withering assessment of the board in his post match interview all but confirming his departure) – if it is the case it would be the earliest departure of a Barnsley manager (four matches in rather than time of the year) since Johnny Steele also departed after four games of the 1971-1972 season following one win, one draw and two defeats – Barnsley would be relegated from the third tier at the end of that campaign.
However in terms of time of the year it will be the fifth managerial departure in the month of October and if confirmed as early as Monday would be three days earlier than when Daniel Stendel departed last season.
Barnsley have picked up only one point from their opening four matches, their worst start to a season since 2013-2014 (also 1 point) a season in which they ended up relegated.
They did manage to score their first league goal of the season courtesy of Cauley Woodrow’s penalty – the first time a penalty has been Barnsley’s first league goal of a season since 2007-2008.
This is the first season that Barnsley have failed to score a goal from open play in their first four matches since 1992-1993 when they failed to score at all in their opening four games.
It is the first time Barnsley have gone four league games in a row without scoring from open play for eight years since a run of four between 6th March and 20th March 2012 (v Middlesbrough 0-2, Southampton 0-2, Reading 0-4, Crystal Palace 0-1)
Indeed Barnsley have scored only four goals in their opening seven matches in all competitions and three of those have come at the Riverside Stadium after winning 2-0 there in the League Cup.
Middlesbrough broke the deadlock in the second minute of first half stoppage time, the first goal scored before half-time in a Barnsley league game this season.
It is the first time Barnsley have conceded in first half injury time since February in a 2-1 defeat at Charlton.
1-0 became 2-0 after 48 minutes, the first time Barnsley have conceded in both the last five minutes of a first half and first five minutes of a second half since Morecambe did so in the League Cup in August 2017 (45 and 49) and the first time in a league game since Fulham in October 2016 (42 and 46)
Barnsley have now failed to win any of their last 60 Championship matches in which they have conceded the first goal, (D12 L48) since defeating Leeds 3-2 in January 2017.
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was booked for time wasting – the first opposition keeper to receive a booking against Barnsley since Luton’s Simon Sluga in July.
It is the second time Bettinelli has been booked against Barnsley, also receiving a yellow card whilst playing for Fulham at Oakwell in January 2018.
There were a total of nine bookings in the game, the most in a Barnsley match since 11 yellows were shown at West Brom in October 2019.
Kilian Ludewig and Elliot Simoes were booked after coming off the bench, the first time two Barnsley substitutes have been booked in a game since October 2018 at Shrewsbury.
This was Middlesbrough’s first win at home in the league in 2020 and their first since Boxing Day 2019.
Boro have won only five of their last 16 Championship fixtures at the Riverside, two of which have come against Barnsley.
It continues Barnsley’s torrid record at Middlesbrough. Despite the aforementioned cup victory there this season they have now lost each of their last four league visits and have won only one of the last 10.
Struber has now made a half time substitution in six of the seven matches this season (all comps) only not doing so against Luton and has now made a half time change in five successive matches.
Barnsley have managed only 10 goals in their last 17 league matches and netted more than once in only two of their last 17.
Despite another defeat Barnsley enjoyed 61% ball possession, their most in a league game since the final home game of 2019-2020 v Nottingham Forest (63%)
There were a total of 26 shots in the game, the most in a Barnsley league match since that Forest encounter (28)
However Barnsley only had one on target, their joint lowest of the season along with the opening day defeat to Luton.
40. Brad Collins
30. Michal Helik
26. Michael Sollbauer
2. Jordan Williams
6. Mads Andersen
4. Callum Styles
27. Alex Mowatt
17. Marcel Ritzmaier
16. Luke Thomas
9. Cauley Woodrow
28. Dominik Frieser
29. Victor Adeboyejo (for Frieser 45)
14. Kilian Ludewig(for Ritzmaier 51)
23. Elliot Simoes (for Thomas 67)
11. Conor Chaplin, 22. Clarke Oduor, 19. Patrick Schmidt, 1. Jack Walton.
1 Marcus Bettinelli
2. Anfernee Dijksteel
5. Sam Morsy
17. Paddy McNair
16. Jonny Howson
27. Marc Bola
6. Dael Fry
7. Marcus Tavernier
22. George Saville
9. Britt Assombalonga
10. Chuba Akpom
33. Hayden Coulson (for Akpom 87)
12. Marcus Browne, 3. Marvin Johnson, 29. Djed Spence, 32. Dejan Stojanovic, 8. Lewis Wing, 15. Nathan Wood.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnocksaid:
"It's not been the same watching it on the internet - I need to be able to cajole my players quietly and softly. To get that win was so important with the two-week international break coming up.
"We have played well all season, but we have given silly goals away. It was nice today even though we gave the penalty away. We deserved the win and should have scored more goals.
"We knew Barnsley would have possession but we were happy with that as long as they didn't hurt us and I thought we defended well, we were organised and then when we won the ball we always looked a threat going forward."
Sky Bet Championship results
FRIDAY 2ND OCTOBER 2020
Coventry City (18th) 1-3 AFC Bournemouth (3rd)
Godden pen 39
SATURDAY 3RD OCTOBER 2020
Norwich City (17th) 0-1 Derby County (20th)
Blackburn Rovers (6th) 0-0 Cardiff City (16th)
Luton Town (5th) 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers (23rd)
Middlesbrough (10th) 2-1 BARNSLEY (21st)
Woodrow pen 89
Nottingham Forest (22nd) 1-2 Bristol City (1st)
Reading (2nd) 1-0 Watford (7th)
Rotherham United (12th) 1-1 Huddersfield Town (19th)
MacDonald og 90+6
Sheffield Wednesday (24th) 1-1 Queens Park Rangers (9th)
Barbet og 54
Swansea City (4th) 2-1 Millwall (11th)
SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER 2020
Brentford (14th) 2-4 Preston North End (15th)
Stoke City (13th) 1-1 Birmingham City (8th)
Barnsley lie in 21st place in the Sky Bet Championship with 1 point from 4 games. We are 6 points off the Play-Offs, 11 points off the Automatic Promotion Places, 11 points off First Place and 1 point above the Relegation Zone.
Up to 4/10/20
Sky Bet Championship Matchday Five: Barnsley v Bristol City, Saturday 17th October 2020. Kick-Off: 3pm
On The Road:
Sky Bet Championship Matchday Six: Stoke City v Barnsley, Wednesday 21st October 2020. Kick-Off: 8pm.