By Josh Allen
It was a gloomy afternoon in the north-east, but the magic of the FA Cup was playing on manager Andy Glossop and his players’ minds.
The Reds had a point to prove as they hadn’t had the start to the season that they were hoping for, as they sat 10th (out of 12) in the league.
Their opponents, Newcastle United Ladies FC, sat in seventh despite playing two games less.
Both sides needed to be positive from the off, and it was the Magpies who dominated in front of their returning home fans.
A corner in the fourth minute was met by a Newcastle player, who thundered her header in – off the bar.
They continued their grip over the game as they kept up the high press, penning the Barnsley players in, who were let off the hook as the home side struck the post three minutes later.
Lone striker Lissa Woodhouse offered herself in the channels but looked extremely isolated throughout.
Glossop’s side were left speechless as Newcastle doubled their lead with an astonishing effort from 35 yards, which beat goalkeeper Micha Boyes.
Being another goal behind seemed to kick the away side into action as Darcie Greene got on the ball and came in centrally to support Woodhouse and the duo linked up well.
A combination of tactics and injuries forced Glossop to shuffle the pack, with Taviah Myles replacing Maddie Foye at right-back and Becky Troake replacing debutante Jade Butcher at centre-half.
Myles looked the more natural fit in that right sided berth, and she provided some attacking threat, but the story of Barnsley’s half was that they were unable to get bodies into the penalty area to pick up any scraps.
Glossop and his coaching staff would’ve had something to say to the players at half time, and something had been said judging by their reactions in the second half – there was a tenacity that was simply missing in the first 45 minutes.
Pressing as a unit, snapping into challenges and using the ball smarter were the most notable changes.
Nobody could embody these attributes more so than Woodhouse, who peeled out wide right once again and floated in a wonderful ball to the back post for Greene to tap home and cut the deficit by half.
The Reds had the right idea and looked to hurt Newcastle down their left-hand side, but the greasy surface was often the downfall for any through balls in the channels.
At 2-1, Barnsley were in the ascendancy and they thought they might have grabbed an equaliser as some quick thinking from a Lindsey Tugby free kick found Louisa Barraclough offering herself as she advanced from left back.
Under instant pressure, she played it on to Greene who span her marker but didn’t get enough behind her effort to trouble the ‘keeper.
The away side continued to get in their opponents’ faces with their pressing – and were the better side – but a failure to take chances inevitably punished them.
A long ball into the penalty area was left to run as neither first half substitute Troake nor goalkeeper Boyes claimed the ball and instead, a Magpies forward pinched in to roll the ball in to make it 3-1.
Time wasting following The Reds’ 52nd minute continued until the final whistle and halted any real form of momentum in the game, but Glossop’s side simply gave themselves too much to do against a well-drilled Newcastle side.
Barnsley Women now look ahead to an away league tie at Bradford City on Sunday December 20, before four weeks off for the Christmas break.