Championship
BarnsleyBarnsley2StokeStoke City4

Barnsley 2-4 Stoke City: Michael O'Neill makes winning start as Stoke boss

Sam Clucas puts Stoke 1-0 up at Barnsley
Sam Clucas (left) gave Michael O'Neill the perfect start with Stoke's first goal eight minutes in

Michael O'Neill got off to the perfect start as Stoke City manager despite limited preparation time as they beat moved off the bottom of the Championship at the expense of Barnsley.

O'Neill only finalised a deal to take charge of the Potters on Friday after he was given permission to relinquish his full-time job as Northern Ireland boss.

"It's a great start," he told BBC Radio Stoke. "I'm delighted with the result because where we are at this moment in time, that's the key thing.

"But many aspects of the performance were very, very pleasing. We've obviously had very little time to work with the players.

"So we had to make a decision to change the system and make some changes in personnel without seeing the players in any great detail, but the response we got was excellent."

Despite Stoke having had just the one training session under O'Neill, Sam Clucas got the new era off to a great start with an early goal.

He punished a poorly struck free-kick taken by Barnsley keeper Bradley Collins more than 40 yards from goal, which clumsily cannoned into Clucas.

After coolly controlling with a neat first touch, Clucas launched, from close to the halfway line. a stunning 60-yard left-foot chip into the now unguarded empty net.

Lee Gregory then converted a rare successful Stoke penalty to double the lead before half-time after James McClean was brought down by Alex Mowatt.

Barnsley did reduce the deficit early in the second half when Cameron McGeehan pounced on a Luke Thomas through ball from close range.

But Joe Allen restored the Potters' two-goal lead when he fired in low after a corner was not cleared and then Clucas was on target again with a 25-yard left-foot screamer for his second.

Patrick Schmidt netted a Barnsley consolation when he slotted in Mowatt's superb long ball over the top, but the Tykes remain winless since the opening day of the season.

Stoke's victory was their biggest in the league since winning 6-1 at home to Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool on the final day of the 2014-15 season, the first time they have hit four goals in a league game since the 4-3 win over Everton at Goodison in December 2015 - and the first time they had scored more than two in a game since the 3-1 home win against Alan Pardew's West Brom in December 2017.

Potters need more 'composure'

Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill will continue to manage Northern Ireland should they reach the Euro 2020 play-offs

O'Neill revealed there was "a temptation" for him to watch from the stands at Oakwell and allow caretaker manager Rory Delap to continue taking care of the team.

But after a short training session on Friday, he decided to implement the required changes for himself.

They included giving the fit-again Gregory the nod up front ahead of Sam Vokes and recalling McClean, Tom Ince, Ryan Woods and Bruno Martins Indi in a switch to 4-3-3 formation from the 5-3-2 used in Monday's home defeat by West Bromwich Albion.

"We needed to get a reaction with energy at the top end of the pitch and I felt we played players in the right positions," said O'Neill. "That obviously gives them confidence, but it was only a first step. In terms of how we play in that system, we'll get better.

"It was probably entertaining to watch, but it was a bit like a basketball game at times. We don't need to try and win 6-1 when we're already 4-1 ahead. We need to show a bit more composure."

'Barnsley boss will have real big challenge'

Stoke's victory ended a run of three defeats either side of Nathan Jones' departure as manager - and was just their third league win this season.

Barnsley, who have been under the caretaker charge of Adam Murray since parting company with Daniel Stendel on 8 October, are now two points adrift at the bottom, without a win in 15 league games.

Murray told BBC Radio Sheffield that turning the Tykes' fortunes around will be difficult.

"The board have got a big decision to make over the international break as whoever gets this job permanently has got a real big challenge on their hands," he said.

"The goals we've conceded are errors that we keep saying can't happen. You can work as much as you want on tactics and shape but, if we keep making bad decisions like that, it'll be a long season.

"People have got to start taking responsibility and ownership as it's happening week in, week out. It's up to them to start addressing it.

"The goals we're conceding are not great goals and we don't get the same chances that the opposition are presented with by us."

Line-ups

Barnsley

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 40Collins
  • 5Diaby
  • 24HalmeBooked at 45mins
  • 21SibbickSubstituted forThomasat 45'minutes
  • 4Dougall
  • 12CavaréBooked at 65mins
  • 8McGeehanBooked at 52minsSubstituted forWilksat 75'minutes
  • 27Mowatt
  • 7Brown
  • 9WoodrowBooked at 84mins
  • 11ChaplinSubstituted forSchmidtat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Sahin-Radlinger
  • 6Andersen
  • 16Thomas
  • 19Schmidt
  • 22Oduor
  • 28Simoes Inacio
  • 36Wilks

Stoke

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Butland
  • 2Edwards
  • 6BatthBooked at 59mins
  • 15Martins Indi
  • 3Ward
  • 4Allen
  • 38Woods
  • 22ClucasSubstituted forB Ndiayeat 73'minutes
  • 7InceSubstituted forDioufat 82'minutes
  • 19GregorySubstituted forVokesat 90'minutes
  • 11McClean

Substitutes

  • 9Vokes
  • 12Carter-Vickers
  • 18Diouf
  • 25Powell
  • 26Campbell
  • 27B Ndiaye
  • 32Federici
Referee:
Jeremy Simpson
Attendance:
14,891

Match Stats

Home TeamBarnsleyAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home12
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away9
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home14
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Barnsley 2, Stoke City 4.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Barnsley 2, Stoke City 4.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Ryan Woods.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luke Thomas.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Sam Vokes replaces Lee Gregory.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Mallik Wilks (Barnsley).

  7. Post update

    Bruno Martins Indi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Kenneth Dougall.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Dimitri Kevin Cavaré.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley).

  13. Post update

    Danny Batth (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Barnsley 2, Stoke City 4. Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alex Mowatt.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Barnsley. Patrick Schmidt replaces Conor Chaplin.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces Tom Ince.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Mallik Wilks with a headed pass.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Conor Chaplin.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Barnsley. Mallik Wilks replaces Cameron McGeehan.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Badou Ndiaye replaces Sam Clucas because of an injury.