Barnsley 1 Preston North End 3 match report: Gentry Day victory for the Lilywhites at Oakwell

Preston North End celebrated Gentry Day with victory over Barnsley at Oakwell in their last away game of the campaign.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 3:22 pm

Around 2,000 PNE fans made the trip to South Yorkshire for their annual day of remembrance and celebration and were rewarded with three points and a performance which got better after a shaky opening.

The hosts opened the scoring through Aiden Marsh but Daniel Johnson quickly brought North End level with the first of two goals he scored from the left wing-back position.

Johnson’s second early in the second half was a cracker, the Jamaica international curling a delightful finish into the top corner.

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Riis got the third with 16 minutes remaining, slotting the ball home from an acute angle.

In truth the margin of victory could have been greater with relegated Barnsley’s confidence draining as PNE took control of the lunchtime contest.

This was North End’s first away since Peterborough on February 12 and aside from the opening spell, thoroughly deserved.

At the final whistle, Ryan Lowe and some of the players donned bowler hats as they applauded the away end, a first live Gentry Day for three years going with a swing.

Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Barnsley at Oakwell

Lowe had made two changes to the starting XI, Ali McCann and Liam Lindsay replacing Greg Cunningham and the injured Andrew Hughes.

Johnson moved to fill the left wing-back vacancy with McCann partnering Alan Browne in the attacking midfield positions.

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McCann drove an early shot over the bar after being picked out by a Johnson cross before Barnsley took the lead in the 17th minute.

Preston North End striker Emil Riis scores the third goal against Barnsley at Oakwell

Victor Adeboyejo chased a ball down the right hand side side of the box, flicking it over Lindsay’s head, keeping it in by the byline and beating Lindsay again before pulling it back into the path of Marsh who slammed a first-time shot from 10 yards.

Ben Whiteman saw a low drive from the edge of the box parried by Tykes goalkeeper Jack Walton, with the rebound out for a corner.

North End equalised in the 23rd minute, Riis picking-up possession and from the edge of the box rolling a pass out to Johnson on the left hand side of the box.

Johnson met with first-time, hitting a precision left-foot across the keeper and into the far bottom corner off the inside of the post.

Preston North End's Emil Riis is congratulated by Alan Browne and Sepp van den Berg after scoring against Barnsley

Four minutes later, McCann’s quickly-taken throw-in found Brad Potts whose pass sprung Riis behind the Barnsley defence to the right of goal.

The Dane took a touch and let fly with a powerful shot which Walton pushed behind at the near post.

From the corner which followed, Lindsay sent a header too high.

On the half-hour mark, Carlton Morris’ shot on the turn from the edge of the box was pushed away by Daniel Iversen diving to his right.

Patrick Bauer saw a header pushed away by the keeper, the centre-half trying to divert the ball from a Potts’ shot.

As the interval approached, Whiteman’s volley from 20 yards beat the keeper but clipped the top of the bar and flew over.

Preston North End's Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson wearing Gentry Day hats after the victory against Barnsley at Oakwell

Lowe made a substitution at half-time, Bambo Diaby replacing the ill Bauer in the heart of the defence.

An early second-half shot from Barnsley midfielder Callum Styles went well wide of the target but North End quickly found their rhythm again and took the lead in fine fashion in the 54th minute.

Potts got room to get down the right-wing and swing a cross into the middle aimed for Cameron Archer.

It was too high for Archer and dropped beyond him, Alan Browne chasing the ball and keeping it in on the far side of the box.

The skipper laid it back to Johnson who controlled and swept a fine left-foot into the far top corner, it bending away from the keeper’s dive.

Riis should have scored in the 68th minute when Archer charged down an attempted clearance and got clear of the Barnsley defence.

The Aston Villa loan man squared the ball into the path of Riis who put his shot too close to Walton who spread himself to save.

However, Riis wasn’t to be denied a 19th goal of the season six minutes after that missed opportunity.

Sepp van den Berg’s through ball played him clear in the box, the keeper forced him wide but from the narrowest of angles to the right of goal, he rolled the ball into the net.

Mikey O’Neill was introduced from the bench after the third goal and had a lively cameo on the pitch.

The teenager drove a low shot across goal and just wide within 60 seconds of coming on.

In stoppage-time O’Neill did superbly to beat two defenders down the right and square a pass to fellow sub Sean Maguire in the middle.

Maguire scooped a shot goalwards which Walton tipped over the bar, the Irishman should really gave scored though.

North End will bring the curtain down on the campaign when they host Middlesbrough at Deepdale next Saturday.

Barnsley: Walton, Moon, Sraha, Kitching, Hondermarck (Helliwell 75), Palmer (Oduor 24), Styles, Wolfe, Marsh (Woodrow 67), Adeboyejo, Morris. Subs (not used): Flavell, Christie-Davies, Ariely, Bremang.

PNE: Iversen, Van den Berg, Bauer (Diaby 46), Lindsay, Potts, Whiteman, Browne, Johnson, McCann, Riis (Maguire 84), Archer (O’Neill 79). Subs (not used): Ripley, Cunningham, Rafferty, Sinclair.

Referee: David Webb (County Durham)