Barnsley 2 Portsmouth 3: Neil Allen's verdict - Stunning statement from table-topping Blues on wonderful Oakwell night

Connor Ogilvie celebrates putting Pompey 3-0 up after 17 minutes against Barnsley. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Connor Ogilvie celebrates putting Pompey 3-0 up after 17 minutes against Barnsley. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

By the end of a tense second half, Pompey certainly were leading League One for the first time in more than a year.

As for the second subject of the fans’ exuberant singing, there’s still plenty of time to go yet – with many more ups and downs.

Still, John Mousinho’s men posted a powerful statement to the rest of the division following a 3-2 triumph at Oakwell, certainly a closer scoreline than many anticipated at the interval.

Understandably spirits were high after racing into a 3-0 lead in a sizzling opening 17 minutes, with Colby Bishop, Paddy Lane and Connor Ogilvie netting.

Yet even after that eye-popping initial blast, the Blues continued to control the half and dictate in front of a stunned home crowd, entering the break with that formidable advantage intact.

Inevitably it was a very different Tykes side which emerged after half time, reinvigorated following a pep talk and altered by three substitutions.

Sure enough, Barry Cotter and Callum Styles reduced the deficit to 3-2 with 13 tense minutes remaining.

Yet Mousinho’s men stood firm, even through seven minutes of time added-on, as they made it 19 league matches undefeated.

More importantly, this was a victory – lifting them to the summit for the first time since August 27, 2022, when they triumphed 1-0 at Port Vale.

Pompey headed to South Yorkshire having made two changes for their second long away trip in 72 hours.

Zak Swanson was absent from Mousinho’s squad, while Abu Kamara dropped to the bench.

That meant a return for Joe Rafferty at right-back, having served his three-match suspension following a Stevenage red card.

Joe Morrell was also back from a ban, albeit one match, and came into the centre of midfield, replacing Kamara.

In the reshuffle, Gavin Whyte reverted to the left wing, having operated as a number 10 in Saturday’s dramatic 1-1 draw at Derby.

Pompey almost netted in the opening 34 seconds following Paddy Lane’s strong run down and cross down the right.

Firstly Colby Bishop and then Alex Robertson couldn’t quite manage to connect, but it eventually fell to Whyte at the far post and his first-time shot was brilliantly blocked by Jordan Williams.

Moments later, Morrell’s ball into the box was met with a free header by Bishop, but he disappointingly planted it over the bar from just outside the six-yard box.

Pompey then won themselves a penalty on seven minutes following excellent work down the left from Lane and Whyte.

Firstly Lane did superbly to ride two challenges to charge up the flank, before feeding Whyte, who delivered a magnificent right-footed cross into the box.

Bishop connected, putting the ball wide, yet keeper Liam Roberts had taken him out in the process, and a penalty was awarded - and converted by the striker.

Within the same minute it was 2-0, with Lane this time the scorer.

Conor Shaughnessy fed Bishop, who cleverly helped the ball on over the defence, and into the path of the Irishman, who confidently finished into the top corner.

Moments later, the Blues were almost caught on the break with a two-on-one situation, but Ogilvie and then Rafferty dealt with the situation impressively, snuffing out the threat.

Although Barnsley hopefully appealed for a penalty against the Blues’ right-back, with manager Neill Collins and Adam Phillips subsequently booked for their protests.

Pompey were running rampant, though, and Robertson accepted Bishop’s lay-off to fire in a shot saved low down by Roberts.

However, it was 3-0 after 17 minutes when Morrell showed a lovely turn of pace before delivering a cross from the right headed home by Ogilvie inside the six-yard box.

Understandably, Oakwell was stunned and Pompey continued to be dominant for the remainder of the half, without necessarily offering any further chances.

Barnsley made three changes at the break, with Callum Styles, Owen Dodgson and Sam Cosgrove coming on and Cadden, Jon Russell and John McAtee coming off.

Within four minutes of the restart, Barnsley pulled one back when Cosgrove found Cotter in acres of space down their right and he calmly finished past Norris to make it 3-1.

On 58 minutes, a delightful cross from Rafferty down the left was met by a powerful Bishop far-post header, but Roberts was equal to it with a brilliant point-blank save.

With 13 minutes remaining, Dodgson crossed from the left and Styles’ header was fumbled into the net by Norris to make it 3-2.

It headed into a tense finale, with seven minutes of time added-on to negotiate, but the Blues triumphed to top the table.