"Merry Christmas, you filthy animal."
This time of year, there are many Christmas classics that come on the television. It's a Wonderful Life, Elf and White Christmas are just a few, but the one that seems to be on repeat in South London is the sequel to the classic Home Alone. The story line shows two bandits trying to again get the upper hand, but do not learn from their mistakes. Unfortunately for Millwall, this was the third consecutive game where they did not take their chances and like a brick thrown from the roof of a building, this time it came back to haunt us.
The first half was totally dominated by The Lions and Millwall came close in the 6th minute when a ricocheting ball bounced around the Barnsley penalty area, but it was agonisingly just too far away from Jake Cooper who slid in to try and make the connection.
The pressure continued to build and the home side were comfortably camped in the away team's half, but the numerous crosses and corners were as effective as a bunch of fireworks in a saucepan at a gun fight - noisy, but ineffective. It wasn't until the 21st minute when Millwall threatened from a wide ball, but the cross in for Jake Cooper from Jed Wallace was just too long again and his low header was off target.
It was Barnsley who took the lead in the 40th minute, totally against the run of play and with their first chance of the game. The ball made it's way out to Chaplin on the edge of the Millwall box and his curled effort beat Bialkowski and nestled into the far corner.
Although offering very little up until their goal, The Tykes nearly doubled their lead only five minutes later in the 45th minute. Smashing his shot harder than a paint tin thrown over a bannister, Chaplin's effort looked destined for the back of the net, but a big palm from the Millwall goalkeeper kept the Yorkshire side at bay.
As a polar opposite to the first half, Barnsley dominated the opening passages of the second period and had two chances from Brown and Mowatt in the first five minutes which would have extended their lead if it was not for Bialkowski getting down low twice to keep out.
A glorious chance fell to former Barnsley striker, Tom Bradshaw in the 57th minute after a low cross was drilled in from the right hand side from Jed Wallace, but his effort flew over the cross bar from eight yards out.
Aside from a few half chances that did not find the target, there were very little clear cut chances and Barnsley seemed to have got their tactics spot on and would take the points back to Yorkshire. Continuous fouling, trying to break up the play and time wasting only got Millwall more riled, but it was in the 85th minute when Millwall finally got their equaliser. Second half substitute, Matt Smith, manged to flick the ball into the path of fellow substitute Aiden O'Brien and his effort from close beat Radlinger in the Barnsley goal and brought the game back level.
It was in stoppage time that The Tykes got their winner and broke Millwall hearts just before the Christmas break. A late corner came into the Lions' penalty area and it was Schmidt who rose highest to meet the ball and beat Bialkowski. The away fans were delighted at the final whistle to record their first away win of the season and their cheers were like the bullets of a Tommy gun fired along with the sound of sadistic laughter.
Merry Christmas you Filthy Animal? Well it could be in South Bermondsey if the Lions were clinical enough in front of goal and took more than just their one chance from sixteen efforts towards goal.
Millwall: Bialkowski, Hutchinson, Cooper, S. Williams, J. Wallace, Bradshaw (Mahoney 72'), Ferguson, Romeo, Molumby, Bodvarsson (Smith 60'), Skalak (O'Brien 60').
Subs not used: Steele, McCarthy, Brown, Mitchell.
Barnsley: Radlinger, J. Williams, Diaby, Andersen, Brown, Woodrow (Schmidt 84'), Bahre (Thomas 72'), Chaplin, Oduor, Halme, Mowatt.
Subs not used: Collins, B. Williams, Styles, Sibbick.