Nottingham Forest suffered defeat this afternoon as Barnsley ran out 1-0 winners at Oakwell.
Despite dominating large spells of the match Forest left South Yorkshire empty-handed after Dale Jennings scored the winner six minutes into the second half.
Billy Davies made two changes to the team which faced Wigan last weekend. OGC Nice centre back Kevin Gomis was handed his debut in place of the injured Eric Lichaj. Greg Halford shifted to right back. The other change saw Jonathan Greening denied a start against his former loan club. He dropped to the bench as Djamal Abdoun stepped in. Guy Moussi and Darius Henderson were named among the substitutes.
Barnsley claimed the first shot of the day when midfielder Jim O’Brien struck the ball wide of Karl Darlow’s post from the edge of the area.
The keeper was called into action for the first time five minutes later, diving to his left to tip the ball over his own bar after Dale Jennings had cut inside to shoot right-footed from 25 yards.
Referee Keith Stroud had his notebook open three minutes later after Gomis hauled down Tykes striker Chris O’Grady in midfield. The debutant was shown a yellow card and the resultant free-kick sparked a prolonged scramble in The Reds’ penalty area. The visitors managed to ride it out.
Forest imposed themselves on Barnsley for the first time on 13 minutes courtesy of some brilliant skill from Abdoun. He dragged the ball away from two Barnsley defenders in the corner and raced along the touchline towards goal before seeing his cross blocked. The Algerian took the resultant corner and the ball eventually dropped for Jamie Paterson on the edge of the area. He scuffed the ball into the air and the home side cleared the danger.
The Tykes responded with a chance of their own, Martin Woods shooting wide after Gomis had half-cleared a cross from the right, before Forest came within inches of opening the scoring.
Jamie Mackie’s lay-off was neat for Abdoun, who struck the ball sweetly from just outside the box. It cannoned off the base of Luke Steele’s post and away to safety.
The former Olympiakos winger was in lively mood and almost conjured up an assist minutes later. His cross from the left was perfect for Mackie, who could only head the ball wide from six yards out.
Danny Fox became the next name in the book for pulling back Jack Hunt shortly before Simon Cox saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area.
The Reds were firmly in the ascendancy and carved out another opening on 36 minutes. Abdoun linked up with Halford who then slipped the ball to Paterson in the area. He saw his shot blocked by the legs of a defender.
A minute later Paterson threatened again, taking the ball across the area and drawing another block from a defender. Halford’s subsequent long throw dropped for Majewski whose shot deflected off a defender and out for a corner, which came to nothing.
And it was the visitors who claimed the final opening of the first half. Majeswki played a superb ball over the top to Paterson. The former Walsall winger shimmied past his man and laid the ball back to the onrushing Majewski. The Pole opted to take a touch on the edge of the area instead of striking it first time, the ball ran away from him and the final chance of the opening 45 minutes was gone.
There were no changes to either side at half-time, but there was a change to the scoreline six minutes after the restart as Barnsley took the lead.
It had been a scrappy opening to the half before Jennings grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, running into space before powering the ball low to Darlow’s right from 20 yards out.
Forest set about levelling the scores immediately as Fox picked out Majewski on the corner of Barnsley’s box. The Pole had plenty of time and space but could only send the ball straight at Steele with a bobbling right-footed shot.
Keen to keep the pressure on, Cox did well to wriggle into the area before being blocked off just as he looked set to shoot. Abdoun’s resultant inswinging corner was cleared.
Barnsley’s response came in the way of a deflected O’Grady shot. The ball flicked up off Gomis after the striker had shot on the turn. The corner came to nothing and Henderson replaced Mackie soon afterwards.
Forest’s next chance to equalise came after Hunt found his way into the book for hauling down Abdoun. The free-kick was in an excellent crossing position but the Algerian could only sail the ball over everyone and out for a goal kick.
The Reds continued their hunt for an equaliser as Jara tried his hand from 25 yards. The ball nicked off a Barnsley man and went out for a corner. Abdoun’s initial cross was headed straight back to him by the Tykes defence and his second cross eventually dropped for Gomis on the edge of the area. The Frenchman attempted a left-footed volley and the ball looped just wide of the post. Barnsley keeper Steele was then booked for timewasting as the sides regrouped for the goal kick.
Paterson was the next man to have a go as he bent the ball a couple of yards wide of Steele’s post from 22 yards. Five minutes later Halford showed superb feet down the right before ballooning the ball high and wide with a left-footed shot.
The hosts reminded Forest of their own threat with 20 minutes remaining as Fox was forced to slide in to block Jacob Mellis’ shot inside the area.
But a minute later The Reds had a good opportunity to equalise, Abdoun slipping the ball to Henderson in the area. The striker failed to take the ball comfortably in his stride and lacked power in his shot with his weaker right foot. The ball was blocked by a defender and cleared.
Forest did call Steele into action shortly afterwards, this time Abdoun standing the ball up at the back post for Paterson. The 22 year old had to generate his own power on the header and could only direct the ball straight at Steele.
Halford was then replaced by Moussi with Jara slotting in at right back.
Forest’s pressure was incessant but they were struggling to carve out any clear-cut chances. Abdoun won another free-kick down the left but his delivery was poor. The ball was easily cleared at Barnsley’s near post.
With a minute of normal time remaining Matt Derbyshire, on for Cox, won a corner but the ball from Fox’s delivery drifted over everyone and out for a goal kick - a frustrating reflection of Forest’s afternoon.
Five minutes of added time were indicated, the first of which saw a Henderson flick-on handled by Peter Ramage on the edge of his own area. With Steele expecting a cross Abdoun bent the wall towards the near post. It looked like it was heading into the top corner but Steele did well to tip it out for a corner - it came to nothing.
Still Forest pressed, winning another corner which Darlow raced forward for. A scramble ensued with the ball eventually dropping for Derbyshire in the area. The former Blackburn striker didn’t connect cleanly with his shot on the turn, Steele held on and the match ended 1-0 to the hosts.
Forest: Darlow, Halford (Moussi 75'), Lascelles, Gomis, Fox, Jara(c), Abdoun, Majewski, Mackie (Henderson 58'), Paterson, Cox (Derbyshire 70')
Subs not used: De Vries, Harding, Collins, Greening
Bookings: Gomis 9', Fox 29'
Barnsley: Steele, Ramage, Kennedy, Cranie(c), Hunt, Dawson, O'Brien (Lawrence 90'), Mellis, Woods (Frimpong 77'), Jennings, O'Grady
Subs not used: Turner, Nyatanga, Cywka, Proschwitz, McCourt
Scorer: Jennings 51'
Bookings: Hunt 61', Steele 64', Dawson 74', Mellis 86'
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 12,157 (Away: 2,835)