Barnsley came from behind to beat Oxford United 3-2 at Wembley Stadium and lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for the first time in their history.Callum O’Dowda headed Oxford in front after 28 minutes, but an own goal from U’s defender Cheyenne Dunkley levelled the scores shortly after half-time.
Barnsley capitalised on that momentum and took the lead for the first time through Ashley Fletcher, before Adam Hammill’s crisply-hit shot from the edge of the area wrapped up the game.
Oxford did reply with little over 10 minutes remaining, but fell just short of another success in their latest visit to the national stadium.
After a cagey, fiesty opening 20 minutes, it was Michael Appleton’s side who got a foothold in the game, and began creating chances.
Jordan Evans forced a save from Barnsley stopper Adam Davies after a sweetly-struck free-kick and, from the resulting corner, U’s captain Johnny Mullins saw his close-range shot blocked, before Barnsley eventually cleared their lines.
The Tykes went closest through Hammill’s lopping half-volley from a clearance, which forced Yellows stopper Benjamin Büchel to fist over the bar.
Then, the deadlock was broken. Alex MacDonald whipped in a pin-point cross from the right-hand side, and O’Dowda fought off his marker to head home and spark joyous celebrations in the East Stand.
That was until Hammill, who was dangerous all afternoon, put talisman Sam Winnall through five minutes into the second half. The striker, who has netted 18 times this season, contested Dunkley in the air, and the ball went in off the head of the Oxford defender for the equaliser.
On-loan Newcastle United forward Ivan Toney made an immediate impact from the bench with 20 minutes remaining, after his deflected shot inside the area found its way to Ashley Fletcher, who was on hand to fire Barnsley into the lead for the first time in the game.
Oxford so nearly equalised a minute later, but goalkeeper Davies pulled off a wonder save to deny Liam Sercombe low to his right.
Barnsley and their Man of the Match Hammill reaped the benefits of that stop and put the icing on the cake with just over 15 minutes left on the clock. He picked the ball up in his own half and stormed all the way to the edge of the Oxford penalty area, and curled past Büchel to seal the club’s maiden Trophy success.
Oxford showed the kind of spirit that got them past two lots of higher-division opposition to reach the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final this term, when Danny Hylton headed home Kemar Roofe’s cross late on.
But Barnsley held on to cap a remarkable turnaround in the showpiece, and an equally impressive transition of their season’s fortunes.
Barnsley: Davies, Williams, Roberts, Mawson, White, Isgrove (Scowen 76), Hammill, Hourihane (C), Fletcher (Chapman 90+2), Brownhill, Winnall (Toney 65)
Substitutes not used: Townsend (GK), Bree, Nyatanga, Watkins
Oxford United: Büchel, Roofe, Mullins (C), Sercombe, Hylton (Bowery 79), MacDonald (Maguire 65), Ruffels, O’Dowda (Waring 84), Kenny, Dunkley, Evans
Substitutes not used: Slocombe (GK), Wright, Long, Ashby
Referee: Andy Woolmer