Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Huddersfield and Barnsley at the John Smith's Stadium as goals from Jordan Rhodes and Harry Toffolo condemned Poya Asbaghi's Tykes to relegation to Sky Bet League One; Terriers secure play-off place as a result
Sunday 24 April 2022 17:41, UK
Barnsley have been relegated from the Sky Bet Championship after falling to a 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium.
The Tykes' exit from the second tier after a rollercoaster three-season stay was confirmed on Friday night, after first-half goals from Jordan Rhodes (4) and Harry Toffolo (45+1).
Second-half substitute Callum Styles halved the deficit in the final seconds of injury time, but though the finish was emphatic, it was little more than a consolation (90+7).
Poya Asbaghi's men will join Derby - who were relegated after a 1-0 defeat to QPR on Easter Monday - in Sky Bet League One after their eighth relegation from the division in their history - the joint-most along with Bristol City and Grimsby.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, secured a play-off spot at the very least as a result, and moved back to within a point of second-placed Bournemouth, who face already-promoted Fulham on Saturday afternoon.
With so much at stake for both teams, a fast start was imperative at the John Smith's Stadium. But there was no immediate urgency from Barnsley and, before long, Huddersfield had seized the advantage when Rhodes headed in from close range after a corner from the right.
A late offside flag forced referee James Linington to discuss the decision with his assistant, with Rhodes converting from an offside position, but Tykes defender Mads Andersen managed an inadvertent flick before the striker made contact, which played him onside and the goal was swiftly awarded - confirming the first time he had scored in consecutive Championship games since August 2018.
The hosts were then denied a penalty when Callum Brittain's pull on Rhodes went unpunished, but after a relatively meek Barnsley attack struggled to test Lee Nicholls, livewire Toffolo doubled the lead when he was left free to slide in a searching cross from Danel Sinani.
Given their predicament, it seemed as though Barnsley would come out fighting after the break - but it simply was not the case. They had just 20 per cent of the possession in the first 10 minutes of the second half and seemed set to go down without a whimper.
Romal Palmer and Cauley Woodrow - the latter of whom made his first start since December 11 - forged half-chances, but Lee Nicholls was left largely untested. As a result, frustration began to creep into the visitors' game, with Palmer and Matty Wolfe booked for cynical late challenges.
They did finally find a goal at the very end of a second half they were second best in, when Styles crashed a brilliant effort into the roof of the net, but it was all too little, too late.
Andy Hinchcliffe on Sky Sports Football:
"I think Jonathan Hogg's role is absolutely pivotal for Huddersfield. He frees up so many players to attack by dropping deep and he changes the shape of the team to make them so dangerous. He's Huddersfield's longest-serving player and is still so important to their cause."
Huddersfield's Carlos Corberan: "I think the key today was to achieve the three points that allow us to achieve a position in the table that is going to give us the opportunity to play in the play-offs, which, for me, is something very important for us as a club because it shows the team is growing and it is a reward for the mentality of this group of players. Now we have two games left and we always say we are going to try to go for the games because this is the respect for football and the respect for ourselves. Every time you play a competitive game, you need to go to take the three points.
"I respect the position of the teams in the table. When a team is in our position, I think that means the team has competed really well during the season. In terms of the dynamic of the team, we have achieved a positive result that allows us to arrive in this position and some of the results were a consequence of our very good performances; some of them we didn't manage the games like we like to. But I think, when you end the season in our position, that means the team has been doing good things."
Barnsley's Poya Asbaghi: "We [Asbaghi and the owners] have conversations all the time. There is, of course, a mutual discussion about the future and I think answers will come at the end of the season. Right now, today, it's about being really disappointed, all of us, accepting the relegation somehow and then we will reflect on the future. Until now, as long as there has been a chance of being caught up with thinking we would still make it. Today we didn't and the time for reflection will be more from now going forward.
"You always try to compete to win football games and I knew when I arrived in the job that maybe the chances for us to stay in the league were pretty low. I had to accept that there was a big probability that, in the end, we would go through exactly what we are going through right now. So mentally, I have been prepared for it, even though we work hard every day and still have this ambition of doing the impossible somehow. But to go through it as a football coach or as a player, it's a part of your development as well. You have to accept it, you have to learn from it and you have to come back even stronger."
Barnsley are back in action at 7.45pm on Tuesday April 26, when they welcome Blackpool to Oakwell, while at 3pm on Saturday, April 30, Huddersfield travel to the Coventry Building Society Arena to face Coventry.