Walsall 0-1 Barnsley: Jacob Brown's injury-time goal seals vital win
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 23/03/19 5:38pm
Jacob Brown's injury-time goal gave Barnsley a 1-0 victory over Walsall at the Bescot Stadium.
With the game heading towards a well-deserved draw for the struggling Saddlers, the Barnsley forward was quickest to react, prodding home to send the travelling support into delirium.
It was a cruel blow for Walsall who dominated for large parts of the encounter and had a Corey Blackett-Taylor effort cleared off the line in the second half.
Walsall winger Matt Jarvis remained out with an ankle injury while Kory Roberts was still not yet in contention after breaking his leg in pre-season.
Meanwhile Barnsley were without Adam Davies and Ryan Hedges (away on international duty with Wales) but Cameron McGeehan and winger Jacob Brown both returned from suspension.
The result extends Barnsley's unbeaten run to 19 games, consolidating their position in second place over Portsmouth to four points while Walsall remain in the bottom four.
Being the early Sky Bet League One contest, both sides were hoping to set a benchmark in their corresponding fights at the top and bottom of the table.
However, it was struggling Walsall whose first-half performance belied their current plight, confidently taking the game to their high-flying opponents with Josh Gordon and Liam Kinsella both blazing over early on when well placed.
At the other end, Mamadou Thiam conjured an opportunity out of nothing with a thunderous 35th-minute effort which was well parried by Walsall stopper Liam Roberts.
Walsall: Roberts (7), Devlin (7), Scarr (7), Guthrie (6), Leahy (6), Kinsella (7), Dobson (7), Osbourne (7), Blackett-Taylor (7), Gordon (7), Ismail (7)
Subs: Cook (NA), Ferrier (NA)
Barnsley: Walton (7); Cavare (7), Pinnock (7), Lindsay (6), B.Williams (7); Brown (7), McGeehan (6), Mowatt (7), Thiam (7); Bahre (6); Woodrow (6)
Subs: Green (NA), Styles (6), Adeboyejo (6)
Man of the match: George Dobson
The second half once again started with the hosts in the ascendancy and they should have taken a deserved lead in the 64th minute when Blackett-Taylor's effort was cleared off the line by Ben Williams.
A further flurry of chances then came for Walsall - Zeli Ismail's cut-back agonisingly evading everyone and Barnsley 'keeper Jack Walton saving well from Josh Gordon
Walton was once again on hand to deny another Gordon effort before Brown's sucker-punch winner - firing through the legs of Walsall 'keeper Liam Roberts after seeing his initial effort blocked.
Man of the match - George Dobson
Walsall dominated for large parts of the game with the player a driving force throughout the game in the centre of the park.
Full of running and intensity, he never let Barnsley's forwards settle and, like the rest of his team-mates, was unlucky to be on the losing side.
Dean Keates: "Never mind perhaps coming away from it with a clean sheet and a point, it was a game we should have won and it's three points dropped.
"For 90 minutes we were the better side but what we've found out in the last few games is that if you are not ruthless then you get punished.
"Three defeats on the bounce is not great but they're against the top teams and we've been close against them.
"We have to take the positivity of that performance and if we keep performing like that we'll be OK."
Daniel Stendel: "It's unbelievable and a great win for us - Walsall played very well and had big chances but my team wanted to win until the last minute as well.
"It looked more like Walsall could score in the second-half but we never gave up and got the goal and the win.
"It might be luck but after the game it doesn't matter and we are so happy - for this moment in the season it is an important result.
Both sides are back in Sky Bet League One action next Saturday, March 30 at 3pm.
Walsall travel to South Yorkshire to face Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat while Barnsley host Coventry City at Oakwell.