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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Saturday 10th March.

Having an elderly neighbour who never seems to leave the house means that DIY jobs around the house involving any more noise than brushing on a coat of emulsion have to be done at weekends. This was one reason I didn’t make the short visit to Oakwell this afternoon, and my decision was in no way influenced by the fact we always lose there, we aren’t exactly in a rich vein of form and besides it takes about a week to get away from the ground.

Anyhow, my decision was made and the fireplace won. Macari’s decisions were made and these saw Moses and Morris getting the nod ahead of Heary and Facey respectively. One of these decisions met with my approval and one did not, but no prizes for guessing which is which. The parochial commentary provided by Home 107.9 was encouraging in the early stages as Town looked to continue their recently rediscovered winning ways, and I could hardly believe my ears when Town actually took the lead after just 9 minutes.

Resurgent Barnsley must have felt sorry for their near neighbours from the north of the county, and when Carl Regan mis-hit a pass back to keeper Kevin Miller new loan signing Lee Morris nipped in to drill a right-footed shot past the helpless custodian. At this stage of the game things seemed to be going our way, and only 4 minutes later Kevin Gallen could have, and should have, doubled the lead. Again the lively Morris was involved, playing the ball to Martin Smith who picked out Kevin Gallen in the Barnsley penalty area. He managed to evade his markers, and having completed the difficult part of the task completely fluffed his shot.

Town continued to press forward, and the home defence had to defend efforts from both Gallen and Gorré both of which were deflected for corner kicks. Two-nil up and Town would have been cruising, but once again we had failed to make the most of our opportunities and Barnsley began to take a greater part of the game. It was with a feeling of inevitability when the equaliser came, and was even more of a defensive cock-up than the one at the other end of the pitch had been.

Normally so reliable, Jon Dyson and Nico Vaesen were involved in an awful piece of indecision which allowed the loose ball to be snapped up by Bruce Dyer in the 26th minute. His hooked goal drained the confidence from the team and lifted the attitude of the home side and, it started to look as though it might be one of those long Oakwell afternoons after all. Town still had chances to restore their lead with Martin Smith firing a free kick narrowly over the bar on the half hour mark and with other chances hitting either defenders or our own attackers, but the half-time interval arrived with the feeling that our best chances of 3 points were probably behind us.

For once we managed to weather the period around half time without conceding a goal, but when the ‘Tykes’ second came it was no real surprise. Once again the defensive marking was suspect, and unlike Town they were able to make their chances count. Bruce Dyer, who had been a recent target of Town’s, inflicted the damage in the 54th minute when he drove in his second goal of the afternoon and fourth in a week. Not bad for a player who was reported to be unsettled at the club.

Oakwell has been a venue of many goals conceded by Town in recent years, and it started to sound as though it would be one of those days again. Apart from the early aberration, the home defence did a very effective job of snuffing out the threat of Smith and Baldry on the flanks and Morris began to tire as he went in search of the ball through lack of service. Most of Town’s problems once again came through uncertain defending, and I think we are beginning to realise now why Adie Moses was available at such a ‘bargain’ price. Jon Dyson took a knock to the face late in the first half and was replaced in the 62nd minute by Thomas Heary who played at right back allowing Moses to move into the centre of defence. Macari also brought on Facey for Gallen at the same time, but without service up front it didn’t really matter who was playing there.

When Neil Shipperley scored a third goal for Barnsley in the 77th minute just after Baldry’s shot had found the woodwork we knew that another three points were going to evade us, and although not altogether surprising it was disappointing after having had chances to get something more out of the game early on. The only hope was that they wouldn’t increase their lead, and Nico Vaesen had to be alert to deny Shipperley a second and then Rankin on the follow up, the woodwork also spared Town’s blushes further.

Of the other struggling teams in the division, only Sheffield Wednesday managed to win, but there are only 11 games to go and we still find ourselves in the bottom 3. Worse than this I suppose that I will have to face the music when I go for a pint at the Globe because no doubt the landlord there will have been to the match supporting the team in red and white, and will rub my nose in it further.

Barnsley 3 (Dyer 26 & 54, Shipperley 77)

TOWN 1 (Morris 9)

Position in table – 23rd

Town – Vaesen; Jenkins; Lucketti; Dyson (Heary 62); Moses; Smith; Armstrong; Gorré; Gallen (Facey 62); Morris; Baldry (Irons 87). Subs not used – Margetson; Thornley.

Barnsley – Miller; Regan; Barker; Ward; Chettle; Morgan; Bullock (Neil 57); Hayward; Shipperley; Dyer (Rankin 87); Barnard (Jones 87). Subs not used – O’Callaghan, Walker.

Referee – Eddie Wolstenholme (Blackburn). Attendance 15,290



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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