Managers talk about the ‘right time to score…getting off to a bad start…the need for luck to win games’. The Tykes experienced all three on their visit to Lancashire in midweek.
The Reds got off to a shocking start and were a goal behind after only four minutes, when Craig Morgan’s header looped in.
Barnsley looked rattled and were struggling to settle. However, the Tykes rallied and took the wind out of the Preston sails with a goal just before half time, through a brilliant curling strike from Adam Hammill.
In a fairly even second half the game looked like being a draw, but a dreadful error from Sean St Ledger allowed on-loan Birmingham City striker Gary O’Connor to slot home a late, late winner.
Having now won an away game in the League for the first time since February, the Tykes have the chance to make it two wins on the trot with the visit to promotion chasing Ipswich Town.
Last season the Reds lost 1-0 at Portman Road through a Daryl Murphy goal.
Unfortunately, Barnsley have only won once in the league in Suffolk and that was back in December 1998, when goals from Sean McClare and substitute Mike Turner gave the Reds a 2-0 victory.
However, you can’t think about fixtures between Barnsley and Ipswich without talking about the trauma of the Play-Off Final at Wembley in 2000. Barnsley were first out of the blocks and took the lead through Craig Hignett, but Ipswich equalised through Tony Mowbray.
The defining moment came shortly before half time when Barnsley were awarded a penalty. However, Darren Barnard saw his spot kick saved by Richard Wright and the momentum had been lost. Ipswich capitalised and scored two goals in six minutes through Richard Naylor and Marcus Stewart to take a 3-1 lead with an hour gone.
With the Reds going on the attack, they were awarded another penalty, taken successfully this time by Craig Hignett. The Tykes streamed forward for an equaliser but were caught on the break in the last minute by Martijn Reuser who scored Town's fourth and killer goal.
That is all history though now and the Tykes must look forward, not back.. The task for Mark Robins is to ensure that after the morale boosting win on Tuesday that his team don’t fall back into the old habits of their fixtures on the road this season.