CONOR Shaughnessy and Dale Taylor fired Albion to a 2-1 Good Friday victory in a pulsating 2-1 victory over Barnsley
Shaughnessy grabbed his first goal since December 2021 diverting Mustapha Carayol’s cross past Barnsley keeper Harry Isted five minutes into the second half and Taylor produced a stunning curled finish three minutes from time to give Albion what looked to be breathing space. Barnsley showed all their grit and determination to halve arrears almost immediately and set up a grandstand finish, Nicky Cadden driving home past Craig MacGillivray who enjoyed an otherwise superb day in the Burton goal with a number of key saves.
Heading into the busy Easter schedule Albion showed three changes for the tricky looking home game against the promotion-chasing Tykes. Academy graduate Thierry Latty-Fairweather swapped with Zac Ashworth, who returned to the side as a left back in a back four. With Deji Oshilaja free to play again after serving his three game suspension he was restored to a midfield role as Jasper Moon was left out, unable to play against his parent club. A third change saw Carayol get just a second start in Albion colours lining up on the left hand side of a front three in place of Jonny Smith.
Both sides were desperate for the three points for differing reasons and Kirk got into a good position on the right to latch onto a cross field pass from Joe Powell but could not pick out Taylor in the middle with a first time cross. Barnsley began to settle with Jordan Williams unable to keep a long range effort down when the ball came to him on seven minutes.
The Tykes were close to grabbing the lead on eleven minutes when they got in down the right hand side and James Norwood turned to shoot inside the box but was denied by John Brayford on the line. The visitors were screaming for a penalty, adamant that Brayford had used an arm to block but referee Adam Herczeg was having none of it, waving away their appeals.
Albion looked to get Kirk involved again on the right and having won a 50-50 ball on the edge of the box the winger was able to push on into the box and put a low ball into the middle where Sam Hughes was denied and in a frantic scramble Barnsley were able to clear.
Hughes was involved again on 28 minutes flicking on a long throw from Conor Shaughnessy but Mark Helm , despite winning the follow-up header was unable to keep his header on target.
Luca Connell had a good chance to open the scoring on 41 minutes with a free-kick form 25 yards out Taylor had fouled the Barnsley man but Craig MacGillivray got his angles right to snuff out the danger with Barnsley strikers looking to pounce on any mistake.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Barnsley
Albion made a positive start to the second half and were rewarded five minutes in when Carayol worked room for a cross on the left and SHAUGHNESSY got the faintest of touches at the near post to see the ball past Isted.
Stung into action, Barnsley looked for a quick equaliser. Devante Cole pulled a shot wide of goal before Adam Phillips pushed forwards from midfield and drilled a low shot wide of the post.
Mads Andersen sent a looping header towards the corner of the net on the hour mark but MacGillivray darted across his goal to palm the ball wide.
Pushing hard to get level, Barnsley responded with a quadruple substitute to boost their attacking threat as the game headed towards the final quarter.
Albion introduced Josh Walker inside the last twenty minutes for Carayol who had put a great shift in down the left.
Barnsley were ramping up the pressure and MacGillivray was well placed to beat away a shot from substitute Josh Benson who attempted an acrobatic shot from fifteen yards after the Brewers stopper had palmed a dangerous cross away at full stretch under pressure on his six yard line.
Oshilaja was feeling the effects of a first game in a month and needed treatment on 78 minutes after going to ground inside the centre circle.
Another Barnsley sub, striker Slobodan Tadic wriggled free of his marker inside the box to get in an angled shot but again Albion’s keeper was in the right place to deny him.
MacGillivray and Barnsley’s Max Watters went in referee Herczeg’s book late on as things got a little heated inside the Burton box and Albion turned to the fresh legs of Jonny Smith to replace Kirk for the last ten minutes.
Walker threatened to give Albion some breathing space on 85 minutes but his low snapshot flew wide and Shaughnessy produced a timely intervention moments later as Cadden’s low cross threatened to unlock the Brewers inside their own six yard box with Tadic waiting to pounce.
It proved a crucial intervention by the big Irish defender as Albion doubled their lead moments later. A cross field from Powell picked out TAYLOR and he brought the ball inside before curling the ball home right inside the post beyond Isted’s dive.
Barnsley were not done though and CADDEN’s low left-footer finally beat MacGillivray with a minute of normal time remaining.
Nerves were jangling when added time resulted in seven minutes indicated by the fourth official and with Barnsley pumping balls into the Burton box at every opportunity it was backs to the walls stuff from the Brewers back line. Macgillivray continued to enjoy a marvellous afternoon in goal right down to the final moment with a last ditch block to deny Tadic what the striker thought was an almost certain goal.
ALBION: MacGillivray; Brayford, Hughes, Shaughnessy, Ashworth; Oshilaja, Helm, Powell; Kirk (Smith, 82), Taylor, Carayol. (Walker, 72)
Substitutes: Amissah, McCann, Ahadme, Gilligan. Latty-Fairweather.
GOALS: ALBION - Shaughnessy (50), Taylor (87) : BARNSLEY - Cadden (89)
Referee: Adam Herczeg