Both Barnsley and Peterborough United went into this Tuesday night clash under the Oakwell floodlights undefeated from their first two League One contests, Barnsley’s standout result obviously being their 7-0 triumph over Port Vale at home.
Darren Ferguson’s Posh hadn’t quite won a match in the league in similarly flashy fashion, but instead went about their business quietly – winning tough matches versus Reading and Charlton Athletic by the solitary goal, 1-0 victories where the defensive efforts shone through.
Who would come out on top in this one? Would Neill Collins’ Tykes pick up back-to-back wins in-front of the expectant home masses at Oakwell? Or, would Darren Ferguson’s Posh rain on the Barnsley parade?
It would be the latter come full-time in South Yorkshire as the away side from Cambridgeshire ran rampant late on to pick up a convincing 3-1 victory, coming from behind to flex their attacking prowess and secure victory comfortably.
But, what else did we learn from this brilliant advert for League One football? Here are five things we learnt from yesterday’s enthralling match-up!
1. Barnsley have recruited well in positions they needed to after star player departures
Barnsley, it would be fair to say, have lost some of the star quality they had last campaign.
Barnsley have been hit with major departures in defence at Oakwell, Harry Isted moving onto Charlton after starring in goal on loan and Mads Andersen has also departed for Premier League Luton Town which left a major absence at centre-back for the Tykes.
Yet, the likes of Kacper Łopata and Liam Roberts being added to the roster at Barnsley to replace these notable outgoings looked promising in this encounter. Still only 21 years of age, Łopata had the mammoth task of keeping serial League One goalscorer Jonson Clarke-Harris quiet and he did so effectively – the three Peterborough United goals scored on the night coming from wing-play.
Without their new goalkeeper in Middlesbrough loanee Liam Roberts, Peterborough United could well have scored six or seven on the evening. Roberts was alert to various shots throughout the match, keeping the ball out of the net effectively until the final 15 minutes where Posh began to control.
2. Barry Cotter the pick of the bunch for the Tykes
Barry Cotter stood out from minute one versus Posh in a Tykes shirt, causing Harrison Burrows all sorts of trouble down the flanks.
The right-back marauded up and down the channels all evening, a number of Posh players including full-back Burrows not able to lay a glove on the Irishman. One first half opportunity was carved out all by the Irish right-back’s tricky feet, twisting and turning his marker inside out before a ball into the box nearly opened the scoring with Posh blocking the chances.
Joining from Shamrock Rovers in January this year, Cotter also played a handful of games for Ipswich Town at Championship level during the 2017-18 season. He showcased this pedigree against Posh, one of his many daring runs even resulting in Barnsley opening the scoring.
Poor goalkeeping by Nicholas Bilokapic in the Posh goal did allow for Cotter’s hard shot to trickle in but he was deserving of his moment in the spotlight by netting for the Tykes, a player to watch out for at Barnsley for the rest of the season.
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) August 15, 2023
3. Peterborough United have also won when it comes to their youth-focussed recruitment
Like their opponents in this third tier match-up, Peterborough United have also recruited well after losing a number of former first-teamers.
Darren Ferguson’s men had let the likes of Frankie Kent, Oliver Norburn, Nathan Thompson and Jack Taylor all leave the building with the hierarchy at Posh opting for a recruitment strategy that focussed on adding more youth to the ranks.
That strategy has paid off with many of Posh’s new young guns starring at Oakwell. Nicholas Bilokapic, minus his error leading to the Tykes’ opener, was fantastic again in goal for the away side – his first-half efforts crucial in giving Posh the platform to go out second half and play with more freedom to win.
Romoney Crichlow and Peter Kioso have also been solid additions at the back, both defenders still only 24 years of age. Kioso helped Posh along their way to a convincing three points by assisting the equaliser, Hector Kyprianou stroking the ball into the back of the net after Posh’s new full-back found him in space.
Archie Collins also stood out in central midfield, making the departure of Jack Taylor sting less. His calming presence in the middle allowed Posh to come out on top in the midfield battle, whilst his tenacity to close down a poor goal-kick allowed Posh to put together a move to make the scoreline 2-1.
4. Joel Randall’s confidence continues to grow
Moving from Exeter City to Cambridgeshire in the summer of 2021 highly-rated by the Grecians, Joel Randall has found his time in Posh blue to date hard.
Barely playing over the last two years owing to confidence issues and failing to acclimatise to his new location, he has started all three games this season for Darren Ferguson’s men in a bid to reawaken the star qualities he showcased with Exeter.
Randall gave another performance at Oakwell that’ll do wonders for his confidence, playing a key role in Posh’s attack that saw three goals fired past Tykes keeper Liam Roberts in quick succession.
The attacking midfielder – who is still only 23 years of age – will hope he can score in League One action soon, netting his first ever Posh strike recently in a Carabao Cup clash versus Swindon Town.
3️⃣ points under the lights! 🤩
Full-time brought to you by Durable Roofline.
— Peterborough United (@theposh) August 15, 2023
5. Hector Kyprianou, Kwame Poku and Ephron Mason-Clark are crucial to Posh
Away from new signings, certain individuals at Posh who have stayed put have had their importance elevated in this new set-up.
Both Kwame Poku and Ephron Mason-Clark ran the Barnsley defence ragged all night, the Tykes defenders not knowing what to do up against both players with their pace running through but also their intricate play on the ball.
Hector Kyprianou is also moulding into a titan centrally for Posh with the exits of Taylor and Norburn but too recent injury news out of London Road involving back-up player Jeando Fuchs, tough and physical in the centre of the park against experienced pros in Herbie Kane and Callum Styles.
He added another goal to his Posh resume against Barnsley too, the Cypriot midfielder guiding the ball into the net gently for Posh’s equaliser on the night. Kwame Poku much preferred hammering the ball into the net when he made it 3-1 late on, adding gloss to an impressive away day win for Fergie’s confident side.