Barnsley 0-2 Brighton: Sam Baldock double sends Seagulls top
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/02/17 6:46pm
Brighton returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-0 away win against play-off hopefuls Barnsley.
Striker Sam Baldock opened the scoring in the second half and star-man Anthony Knockaert set up the forward for his second to wrap up the game.
The visitors came to Oakwell knowing a win would put them in first place, as previous leaders Newcastle do not play until Monday, when they host Steve Bruce's new-look Aston Villa, live on Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, Paul Heckingbottom's Barnsley have now gone three games without a win at home, seeing their hopes of a play-off place suffer a setback.
Brighton had early claims for a penalty turned down, when Baldock went down in the box under pressure from George Moncur. Referee David Coote waved away the appeals though, and booked the striker for simulation.
Shortly after, Barnsley had appeals for a penalty denied too, as they claimed Lewis Dunk handled the ball while clearing Marc Roberts long ball into the area.
Marley Watkins fizzed an effort across goal but Seagulls keeper David Stockdale was equal to it. Adam Armstrong followed it up with a shot on target but it was straight at Stockdale.
Glenn Murray had his deflected header tipped over by Adam Davies before Steve Sidwell could only direct his header wide.
Barnsley then denied Brighton the opener with some brave defending in their own box, when Andy Yiadom somehow got his boot ahead of Murray, who would have had an easy low header from six yards out, to clear the danger.
The Tykes stepped up just before the break, pressing Albion high and winger Ryan Kent tested the opposition with a bursting run down the left, only to see his cross blocked.
Both sides started brightly in the second half with both Murphy and Bradshaw firing just wide at either end.
But the deadlock was broken in the 53rd minute, when Knockaert played a decisive ball through for Baldock to run onto and he unleashed a powerful dipping shot, from the edge of the box to put his side in front.
Knockaert was then given time and space again and he took full advantage of it, rolling the ball to his right and setting up Baldock, who slotted the ball home to double Brighton's advantage in the game.
Barnsley went close to a consolation goal when Watkins demonstrated some good footwork to get his shot off, which was saved by a full-stretch by Stockade and Yiadom's follow-up effort was blocked.
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom: "I thought it was an even game throughout but they were clinical at one end and gave us nothing at the other end.
"First half we did great, but didn't score when we were on top. As well as we may have been playing, they still limited us to very few chances. They're comfortable without the ball as well as with it."
Brighton boss Chris Hughton: "We had to make sure we were back to perhaps what we do best, which is keeping the game as tight as we can and showing that quality in whatever period of the game we can do.
"We knew that these were a good side, in good form, but it's probably more about us at the moment not being as good away from home in this period.
"I think was a real good team performance. I thought the front two were excellent, they worked really hard. I just thought it was a really good, all-round team performance."