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