Bergkamp reigns in Barnsley

COCA-COLA CUP: Barnsley out-gunned by the professionals while last season's finalists fail to advance at home

Barnsley 0 Arsenal 3

Arsenal may be shedding the flinty image of George Graham's latter days but it does not mean they cannot be hard-faced when they want to be. Last night they did a sand-bagging job on First Division Barnsley to remove them from the Coca-Cola Cup.

Wiping away the home team's pretty football like so much unnecessary froth, they won this third-round tie with a relaxed accomplishment that squeezed out any prospect of an upset. Like a heavyweight boxer against a flyweight, the difference was not measured in terms of skill but by weight of punch supplied by goals from Steve Bould, Dennis Bergkamp and Martin Keown.

On a filthy night, Barnsley were often more eye-catching than their Premiership visitors except when it came to the penalty areas. There Arsenal were ruthlessly efficient while the home side's inaccuracy was summed up by Andy Liddell blazing a penalty high over the bar in the 77th minute.

There is a theory among people who rarely frequent Oakwell that Barnsley are unable to hold a football match without a storm breaking out above them. Last night duly conformed to that prejudice, the wind and rain lashing down in a manner worthy of Wuthering Heights.

Under the circumstances good football was unlikely and in the first half hour Arsenal adhered to that faithfully. Barely two passes were strung together by the Premiership team and they must have been staggered that they reached the interval two goals ahead.

Until the 38th minute the Arsenal threat had amounted to one through ball form Bergkamp that was picked off Ian Wright's toes by Barnsley's goalkeeper, David Watson. But the Gunners are past masters at making the most of morsels and, as the interval approached, they struck like vipers.

The first goal came from a free-kick 25 yards out that was passed short from Glenn Helder to Bergkamp who hit the ball skimming towards the far corner. Watson saved low to his left but the ball popped from his grasp and Bould side-footed in the rebound.

After 41 minutes it was 2-0 and again Bergkamp's shooting with decisive point. Steve Davis, the Barnsley centre-back, let the ball bounce off him and the Dutch striker gained possession midway in the opposition half. Seeing no colleague in a more promising position, he swung his left foot and beat Watson from 20 yards.

It was cruel for Barnsley who had begun the match playing like the sun was shining and the air was still. Their short passing, a joy in the opening 20 minutes when Liddell and Andy Payton went close with a shot and a header respectively, survived beyond these disappointments but against the most parsimonious defence in the Premiership they were banging their heads against rock.

The chances were that they rather than Arsenal would crack and so it proved 15 minutes from time. Paul Merson crossed from the right and Keown, arriving late at the far post, headed in powerfully.

"I want my players to take encouragement form that game," Danny Wilson, the Barnsley manager said. "There were some good performances out there and the only difference was the finishing."

A lot of clubs are finding that out about Arsenal this season.

Barnsley (5-3-2): Watson; Eaden, Davis (Rammell, 66), Bishop, Moses, Archdeacon; Bullock, Sheridan, Redfearn; Payton, Liddell. Substitutes not used: Rammell, Jackson, Butler (gk).

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Merson, Keown, Jensen (Hughes, 81), Helder; Bergkamp, Wright (Hartson, 81). Substitute not used: Bartram (gk).

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living