Barnsley 0:2 Leicester City
City posted a second clean-sheet and second victory in a row with a stunning, one-sided win at Oakwell with a first goal for Miguel Vitor and a late clincher from Andy King…
Sven made just two changes from that side that beat Preston with Vassell making his debut in place of Fryatt and Davies replacing Hobbs. City began the game defending the section containing some two and a half thousand City faithful who were rewarded with a display that was composed, confident and far superior to anything Barnsley had to offer.
City settled in to their rhythm quickly and simply didn’t allow Barnsley to have the ball. They opened up the Tykes’ defence time and again with some lovely passing moves and as early as the 5th minute Waghorn rounded off a delightful move with a curling shot that was just kept out by Steele. It wasn’t long before City were in front however, Vitor glancing a header past Steel from Waghorn’s curling free kick and it was no more than City deserved.
From the restart City continued to confound Barnsley and King was denied a goal when he finished off a Gallagher free kick only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. This was followed by another near miss when Steele pulled off another good save to deny Waghorn.
Barnsley’s dilemma was underlined when, on the half-hour, Mark Robins made a double substitution with Gray and Wood replacing Doyle and Hayes; decisions that caused fury amongst the stunned Barnsley support.
The changes had little impact and as half time approached. Davies had a shot deflected on to the post before Steele, yet again, denied Waghorn.
Barnsley’s solitary effort was a Hassell shot that sailed wide. So half time arrived and Weale had literally had nothing to do, the only concern amongst City fans at half time was that we only had one goal to show for a completely dominant performance.
The second half brought no relief for Barnsley as City dominated possession but failed to increase the score and the feeling that Barnsley might have an equaliser in them was underlined on the hour when Butterfield had a shot on target (Barnsley’s first) which was comfortably saved by Weale. If that was a wake-up call then City didn’t heed it as Doyle left Weale stranded with a long-range effort that cannoned back off the bar just a few minutes later.
It was to be City’s last scare as they stepped their game up again, helped by the introduction of Dyer and Howard for Vassell and Waghorn.
Steele twice denied Howard in the closing stages before King sealed the points in the 85th minute when he arrived at the far post to slide in Gallagher’s cross and send the travelling support in to raptures.
This was a performance that was brimming with confidence and it seems that Sven has found something close to his best line-up and, just as importantly, a balanced formation with Yuke Abe the star of the show today. He was at the heart of all City’s best moves with his prompting, holding and passing in a manner that reminded us of Gary McAllister in his prime. The defence is also looking solid and for the second week in a row the opponents were restricted to a solitary effort on target. Before we all get too carried away let’s remember that Preston and Barnsley were not the best sides that City will face this season and three-quarters of City’s back line today is currently on loan. But there is clear progress being made and City fans can now look up and not behind them with a playoff spot a mere six points away.
Barnsley: Steele, Foster, Shackell, Hassell, Potter (Morales 74), Butterfield, O’Brien, Hammill, Colace, Hayes (Doyle 30), Wood (Gray 30). Subs Not Used: Lovre, Preece, Arismendi, Trippier.
Leicester: Weale, Davies, Vitor, Naughton, Cunningham, King, Gallagher (Moussa 86), Abe, Wellens, Vassell (Dyer 62), Waghorn (Howard 81). Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, Fryatt, Hobbs.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire). Attendance: 12,360.