The Bantams fell to defeat to send them crashing out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday evening. Billy Knott’s smartly-taken goal had the Bantams ahead midway through the first half but the visitors equalised on the stroke of half time through Marley Watkins’ glancing header. Alfie Mawson scored the winner for the Tykes, powering a header past Ben Williams after latching onto Conor Hourihane’s free kick into the area.
In quite a flat opening to the game it was probably Barnsley who had the better of the opening exchanges. An almighty scramble in the area almost resulted in Marley Watkins and then Kadeem Harris pouncing on a loose ball before Rory McArdle, returning from international duty, made a vital clearance.
Kadeem Harris, on loan from Championship side Cardiff City, looked a lively outlet on the left flank for the visitors and he timed his run superbly to latch onto Sam Winnall’s flick round the corner before producing a surging run into the area; his shot though was held onto routinely by Ben Williams.
City’s first real opportunity of the game produced the game’s first goal. Mark Marshall’s cross into the area was cleared as far as Billy Knott who controlled the ball well before seeing a shot blocked. The rebound fell kindly to him and he produced a tidy shot across goal which nestled into the bottom corner.
City looked thirsty for more goals and Mark Marshall’s alertness to intercept a pass led to another chance; once he’d intercepted the pass he burst forward and eventually produced a firm shot which was held onto well by Adam Davies in the opposing goal.
Barnsley were always in the game, during a first half which was quite an evenly contested affair, and the got an equaliser at the end of the first half. After Gary Liddle had fouled Reece Wabara, it gave Conor Hourihane a chance to deliver a ball into the box and his cross was glanced in at the near post by Watkins.
James Hanson was back in the starting line-up for this one following his omission from the starting eleven in the last match, a superb victory at Rochdale ten days ago. The first chance of the half belonged to Hanson, but his header following Tony McMahon’s cross was held onto by Davies.
Hourihane was causing City problems from his set-piece deliveries and his corner on this occasion was helped on into the path of Winnall and his goal-bound stab was cleared off the line by McMahon to let the Bantams off the hook.
Luke James was in the starting line-up for this one, and he showed an example of one of strong attributes, work rate to hunt down Ben Pearson and win the ball from him; he then drove into the area before seeing a low drive towards the bottom corner kept out by Davies.
With the next real chance of the game, Barnsley took the lead. Again, it was from a Hourihane set-piece, his corner on this occasion being powered past Ben Williams by the head of visiting skipper Mawson. Lee Johnson’s men had come from behind to score what ultimately proved to be the winning goal.
The game might well have sparked into life with City hunting an equaliser from there on in, but it wasn’t really the case in truth. Marshall cut inside from the right to set sights with a left footer, but his firmly struck drive was held onto by Davies who had performed admirably in Barnsley’s goal.
There were five additional minutes at the end of the 90 but the visitors defended well against City’s barrage of balls into the 18 yard box. An equaliser couldn’t be found and the South Yorkshire outfit recorded a victory to set-up an Area Quarter-Final tie at home to Sky Bet League 2 side York City.