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Michael Duff: Last-gasp winner was the cherry on the top for Barnsley

Michael Duff would have settled for a point (Nigel French/PA)
Michael Duff would have settled for a point (Nigel French/PA)

Michael Duff admitted Barnsley’s last-gasp winner was a welcome bonus at Fleetwood.

Jack Aitchison struck the only goal of the game in stoppage time, just minutes after coming off the bench, with a fine glancing header from fellow substitute Ziyad Larkeche’s cross.

And the victory left his manager, who admitted he would have been happy to take a point home as the clock was ticking down, delighted.

“We had a few moments, but if I’m brutally honest when we got to about 87 minutes I’d have taken a 0-0 away from home,” said Duff. “But the players kept pushing and that’s what we wanted.

“Last-minute winners always feel good but if it had been 0-0 it would have been another game unbeaten, another clean sheet. The cherry on the top was the last-minute winner.

“I thought it was a deserved win, we were the better team.

“In the first 20 minutes we were excellent but we couldn’t score the goal and you’re never going to dominate a game for 90 minutes.

“There was a little bit of concern in the second half that the game had gone a bit flat, but that’s part of our learning.

“They went a little bit more direct and they are a tough nut to crack. We talked about how we had to keep going to the end.

“I’d be loathe to single any of them out. You want people coming in and putting their hand up, no one sulked when they were taken off the pitch and Jack has come on and got the winner for us, which is great.

“The pleasing thing for me was that at half-time there were a few lads digging each other out, which apparently is new for the group. I was told by members of staff that they had not seen that before, so that they’re willing to dig each other out, if it’s not personal, is to try and be better.

“I thought there was some really good football played today, we’ve kept a clean sheet and got an away win at a tough place.”

While Barnsley left the north west coast overjoyed, Cod Army boss Scott Brown conceded he was distraught at losing to a goal that hit the net just as the 90 minutes had expired.

Adding to the former Celtic man’s frustration was a perceived foul on Joe Garner, missed by referee Samuel Barrott, that led to Barnsley breaking away to score.

“Losing to a last-minute goal is always hard,” he said. “We managed the second half very well, we tried to play on the counter with a little bit of pace as well, we brought Joe Garner on and we started to go a little bit more direct than we’re used to.

“Overall, looking at that performance from the lads I can say they worked extremely hard. We talked about what we wanted to do at half-time, we changed the shape and I thought their understanding of the shape was very good.

“As for the referee today I think he got a few decisions wrong, he didn’t have the best of days but we have to take it on the chin. We were trying to start an attack and he got pulled back.

“It’s horrible losing to a last-minute goal, I could never say anything about their effort because they always give 100 per cent.

“They always work hard, but I think in the final third we got a bit coy, we got a couple of chances but didn’t manage to hit the back of the net.”