Huddersfield Town 2-1 Barnsley: Defeat consigns Tykes to relegation to League One
Barnsley were relegated to League One following defeat by promotion-chasing Huddersfield Town, who themselves sealed a Championship play-off spot.
Jordan Rhodes headed in from close range after a Huddersfield corner was deflected into his path to give the hosts an early lead.
Harry Toffolo was then found completely unmarked to tap in with a cool finish to double their advantage just before the break.
In a subdued second half, Barnsley found a late consolation through Callum Styles’ impressive strike from the edge of the box but it was too late as their fate was confirmed.
The Tykes, who stay bottom, are 11 points behind 21st-placed Reading with three games left this season.
Barnsley’s three-season stay in English football’s second tier comes to an end, while Huddersfield move to within a point of second-placed Bournemouth. However, the Cherries have three games in hand on the Terriers and are still heavy favourites to claim the second automatic promotion place.
Huddersfield had lost just two of their past 23 Championship games while Barnsley arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium having not won since 15 March and having won just eight points on their travels this term.
Barnsley needed a victory to keep up their slim hopes of Championship survival but Rhodes made that task even harder when he put the hosts ahead inside four minutes.
The former Scotland striker had to wait for confirmation that the goal would stand after a late flag went up for offside from the assistant referee.
But it was eventually given after it was judged the ball had deflected off a Barnsley defender as they tried to defend the corner, leading to Rhodes’ simple header.
But it was Toffolo’s goal just before half-time that epitomised Barnsley’s position, as the visitors failed to pick his run into the box, leaving him to latch onto Danel Sinani’s cross to fire low past Tykes keeper Jack Walton.
Styles’ late strike was a bitter-sweet consolation for the visitors, who rarely threatened during an abject 90 minutes where Huddersfield controlled much of the match.
From the play-offs to the drop
Relegation after a season of struggle ends an eventful three-year stay in the second tier for the club who have played more games at this level than anyone else.
They scored a last-minute winner at Brentford in the final game of the Covid-hit 2019-20 season to miraculously avoid relegation and send Charlton down instead.
Gerhard Struber, who had taken over midway through that campaign after the sacking of Daniel Stendel, left soon into 2020-21 for MLS side New York Red Bulls and was replaced by Valerien Ismael.
The former Bayern Munich man oversaw a remarkable turn around of the team’s fortunes and improbably guided them to a fifth place finish.
They fell to defeat by Swansea in the play-offs and Ismael, along with influential captain Alex Mowatt, both left for West Brom.
His replacement Markus Schopp won only one of his 13 games in charge, a victory over Coventry in their first home game, and departed in November after a run of seven straight losses.
Sweden Under-21 coach Poya Asbaghi took over but failed to win any of his first 11 league matches at the helm, leaving relegation looking inevitable before finally ending his wait with a home victory against QPR.
Surprisingly, that kick-started an upturn in fortunes as they won three times in February to give fans hope of staying up, with January loan signings Domingos Quina and Amine Bassi scoring crucial goals.
They could not keep the run going though and conceded late equalisers in home games against Stoke and Fulham in the space of four days in March, at a time when victory in both would have seen them climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since 2 October.
Still, they retained some hope up until Easter Monday’s limp 2-0 home defeat by fellow strugglers Peterborough in a game where they had more shots and more possession but failed to score against a team who had failed to keep a clean sheet away from home all season.
- 3ToffoloSubstituted forRuffelsat 84′minutes
- 19HolmesSubstituted forCampbellat 89′minutes
- 24SinaniSubstituted forHighat 45′minutes
- 5KitchingBooked at 52mins
- 21PalmerBooked at 56mins
- 33WolfeBooked at 51minsSubstituted forChristie-Daviesat 69′minutes
- 28QuinaSubstituted forStylesat 70′minutes
- 9WoodrowSubstituted forLeya Isekaat 70′minutes
- 11Leya Iseka
- James Linington
Match ends, Huddersfield Town 2, Barnsley 1.
Second Half ends, Huddersfield Town 2, Barnsley 1.
Goal! Huddersfield Town 2, Barnsley 1. Callum Styles (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Remy Vita.
Attempt blocked. Josh Ruffels (Huddersfield Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Josh Ruffels (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis O’Brien.
Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Mads Andersen (Barnsley).
Naby Sarr (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Aaron Leya Iseka (Barnsley).
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Fraizer Campbell replaces Duane Holmes.
Jonathan Russell (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum Styles (Barnsley).
Attempt saved. Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Duane Holmes.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Josh Ruffels replaces Harry Toffolo.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Oliver Turton.
Attempt missed. Aaron Leya Iseka (Barnsley) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Amine Bassi with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Lewis O’Brien.
Attempt saved. Carlton Morris (Barnsley) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Kitching.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Jonathan Russell.
Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.