Bristol City boss Lee Johnson was lost for words following Niclas Eliasson’s winner against Barnsley.
Both teams had missed a host of chances when Jay Dasilva burst down the left flank in the 87th minute and crossed to the far post where Eliasson controlled the ball and coolly picked his spot with a low shot.
Johnson and his staff hugged each other in the dug-out and were soon celebrating a result that kept City hot on the heels of the top six.
The Robins’ head coach had seen his Sky Bet Championship side dumped out of the FA Cup by League One Shrewsbury in midweek and admitted the players “owed” fans a response.
“I don’t think there is a word in the dictionary to describe the emotion,” Johnson said.
“There was a lot of flak flying about after our cup result and we owed our fans a response to a disappointing performance. They were great and I’m delighted we sent them home happy.
“I thought we deserved to win against a Barnsley side I rate highly. You can see the benefits of the work they have been putting in and when we failed to clear their press they looked very dangerous.
“We have had so much go wrong this season in terms of injuries to key players and I’m really proud of my squad.
“I’m pleased for Niclas because we have been working on getting him into scoring positions. I think we need to bring in a couple of new players this month, if possible, to demonstrate our ambition.
“I would be happy enough with what we have if anyone could guarantee me no more injuries. But no-one can do that so we will be trying hard to bring in one or two new faces.”
A wide-open game was marred by some wretched finishing and Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber saw that as his side’s failing.
“It was a very disappointing defeat and a very disappointing moment for me and my players,” he said. “I was pleased with the performance and, especially in the second half, we created a lot of chances.
“We were not in the same killer mood as in recent games. But I believe that if we continue to play that way we will get the results we need to stay in this league.
“Our defending was synchronised and we created many chances. We were clear in expecting a lot of long balls and were aggressive as well as clever.
“Sometimes we were not as clear with our final pass. When you have so many good situations to score a goal and don’t do so it can mean an unnecessary defeat.
“But looking forward I am very encouraged and believe we will pick up the necessary points to stay in the Championship.
“We have a lot of young players and I want to improve them with the style of football we play.
“But you have to get results along the way and that isn’t easy when a lot of opposing teams regard them as all-important and play long balls to tall forwards.”
Both sides hit the woodwork and the two worst misses of the match came in the second half.
First Barnsley’s Luke Thomas contrived to shoot wide from six yards and two minutes later Eliasson fired over from 12 yards with the goal at his mercy.