Millwall ended a run of four successive away draws, with a late winner seeing off struggling Barnsley 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship contest at Oakwell.
A frantic and fast-paced opening period was followed by a scrappy second half, until Murray Wallace headed home in the 88th minute to give Gary Rowett’s side all three points.
Barnsley’s Aaron Leya Iseka fired an early warning shot as his long-range drive whistled inches wide of the post.
Millwall should have been ahead soon after. Sheyi Ojo’s low drive was originally spilled by Brad Collins before Wallace’s rebound was turned around the post by the Barnsley goalkeeper.
The home side then had a double chance themselves. Cauley Woodrow’s corner fell back to the feet of the striker, who forced Bartosz Bialkowski into a smart save. Michael Helik’s volley from the resulting corner went just wide of goal.
Devante Cole robbed Lions’ captain Shaun Hutchinson of the ball and headed for goal, only to be denied by another good save from Bialkowski.
Tykes midfielder Leya Iseka was looking dangerous and once more went for the spectacular, with his effort again flying wide.
Benik Afobe searched for his third Championship goal of the season but failed to connect cleanly on two separate chances as the first half drew to a goalless end.
The second period started in a contrasting manner, with Collins pressured into conceding a corner – the resulting set-piece was eventually headed over by Wallace.
Barnsley manager Markus Schopp had made all three of his substitutions with 20 minutes to go and Rowett immediately responded as Tom Bradshaw and Billy Mitchell replaced Ojo and George Evans.
Bradshaw immediately sought to make a difference but Collins was alert enough to gather his goalbound header.
A minute later, the substitute was presented with another chance; Bradshaw nicked the ball and was through on goal but was thwarted again by the Barnsley keeper.
The hosts’ best chance of the second half came with four minutes to go. The ball was well worked to Callum Brittain but the midfielder could not keep his shot on target, to the frustration of the home fans.
The deadlock was finally broken when Jed Wallace’s corner was met with a powerful header at the back post by namesake Murray, sparking scenes of delight in the away end.
The full time whistle was greeted by boos from the home faithful and the Reds’ now slip into the Championship relegation zone after nine games without a win.
What the managers said…
Barnsley’s Markus Schopp: “It’s a tough situation. Losing a game like today; it’s probably the hardest one. It’s a situation that we have to go through, and it isn’t easy for us, and it isn’t easy for the fans. We can only stick together. We are absolutely clear that this must be better, and I will do everything to make sure it is better as soon as possible.
“For us, it’s important to understand that we have to do more to get the three points. I saw a Barnsley team that for 45 minutes that were really ready for competing. For the lads, after two games [without a goal], it would be so important psychologically to get a goal. It didn’t happen and we have to find better solutions.
Millwall’s Gary Rowett: “I’m really pleased. It’s seven unbeaten for us – won three and drawn four. For us, part of the challenge is turning some of those drawn games into games that we win. We knew it was going to be a difficult game coming to Barnsley. For the majority of the game, it was just about if we could find that quality moment. We’ve created some good opportunities.
“It looked at one point as thought it might end up a draw, which I would have been disappointed with. Murray Wallace comes up with a fabulous header to win us the game. I though he was fantastic today, he’s been fantastic all season.Someone told me it was my 100th game as Millwall manager today. It wasn’t really something I had thought about. It was just trying to give those away fans something to cheer about. They were brilliant and it gives them that lift to see their team win two games in a week.”