barnsley 50kb

Mark O’Haire’s Play-Off Tips – Barnsley v Millwall

Barnsley make their second trip to Wembley this season following their success against Oxford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in April with interim boss Paul Heckingbottom hoping to put the seal on a memorable campaign.

Barnsley v Millwall, Sunday 29th May 2016 (15.00), Sky Sports 1
The Tykes were sitting rock-bottom of the League One table in early December and by Christmas they remained 500/1 shots to win promotion. But from the 28th December, Barnsley churned out 20 wins from 30 with a W13-D4-L3 record in 20 under Heckingbottom’s watch.

New Year Revolution
The Yorkshire club were the third-tier’s best performers according to the shot ratio rankings from Boxing Day (64%) and showed what they’re capable of in two impressive dispatches of Walsall in the play-off semi-finals.

Despite averaging just 39.5% possession across the tie, Barnsley fired in eight shots-on-target in both legs of an eventual 6-1 aggregate victory against the Saddlers. They were two very eye-catching performances.

The Tykes concluded the campaign in sixth but are shading 17/10 favouritism at Wembley thanks to their outstanding displays in 2016, whilst Barnsley also did the double over Millwall in the regular season in two high-scoring and entertaining contests.

In fact, include the semi-finals and Barnsley boast a superb W8-D2-L2 record against top-six teams this term, scoring at least twice in six of those 12 encounters.

Lions Roar
Like the Tykes, Millwall also produced two sterling efforts in the play-off semi-finals with minimal possession. Bradford were ousted 4-2 on aggregate with the Lions enjoying just 31.5% possession over the two legs. However, the shots-on-target count was only won 8-7.

In truth, Neil Harris’ troops ended the tussle with a clinical 3-1 victory at Valley Parade in the opener. And the Londoners fine defensive back line rarely looked troubled by the Bantams, either.

However, key centre-half Byron Webster was forced off during the final stages of the second leg and losing his tough and uncompromising partnership with Mark Beevers would be a massive blow for the capital club.

And Millwall’s return with the League One elite is a major concern for the fourth-placed finishers. The Lions may have W15-D6-L3 in their last 24 but have W4-D5-L9 against teams in top-nine positions and returned W3-D4-L5 when taking on play-off finishers.

For me, it’s the final nail in the coffin.

I’m happy to side with a Barnsley win in 90 minutes as the Tykes boast the necessary momentum and experience, as well as match-winning quality required on Sunday afternoon


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Barnsley to win (17/10)

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