Friday 6th October.
As Town prepared to take on Barnsley tonight, Barry Rubery appointed
a new club chairman – Barry Rubery! Yes you heard it right folks.
Perhaps we are going to follow the Lincoln City and Brentford route
where the Chairman gets a little carried away and puts himself in
charge of the team selection as well. I think Bradford City have
also followed this route with Geoffrey Richmond telling Chris Hutchings
which side to field, and then blaming him when they lose.
Anyway I digress. Rubery’s explanation is that he has invested
about £10 million into the club and wishes to have day-to-day control
of matters financial. My explanation is that he doesn’t wish to
put his hand in his pocket and that he has gone for the cheap option.
Perhaps if Mavis the laundry lady quits then Barry Rubery could
be seen putting the dirty kits on a short spin cycle.
Any road up, onto matters football. Jamie Vincent sporting the
plaster cast that seems to have spoiled his game since his curious
DIY misadventure replaced illness victim Jon Dyson, but apart from
that the team was very much as predicted. Games with Barnsley are
rarely dull and there is usually a good derby atmosphere for these
encounters. In addition to wanting the 3 points to move us in the
right direction up the table, the landlord of my local is a Barnsley
fan and his smug expression this season is causing my beer to taste
strangely bitter (although this is probably because it is bitter!).
Having lost 6 out of 6 home fixtures so far this season Town started
brightly and seemed determined to put the miserable run behind them.
Whether it was the derby atmosphere or whether Steve Bruce had threatened
to put his size whatever’s up their backsides if they didn’t perform,
they had a determined look about them and scrapped for everything.
Ben Thornley had an early opportunity in the 10th minute after some
good work by Kenny Irons but unfortunately Thornley's effort went
over the bar once again.
The winger was again involved just before the half hour mark and
although his shot was on target for once it was straight at Barnsley
keeper Kevin Miller who collected easily. Town were enjoying one
of their most convincing spells of the campaign at this stage and
Chris Beech was unlucky when he headed just wide of the target and
minutes later Kevin Gallen raced onto Dean Gorré’s through ball
only to see the chance deflected for a corner. From the resulting
corner Chris Lucketti managed to get to the ball but his header
went wide when Miller was left high and dry. Barnsley were allowed
to create little at this stage and with Town pressing there was
some genuine hope that the corner had now been turned in this miserable
start to the season. For the most part though, Barnsley’s defence
coped well and we were unable to convert our possession into to
many guilt edged chances.
It was a shame that the first half had to come to an end, because
from the restart it was clear that Barnsley must had felt the vitriol
of manager Dave Bassett for their first half performance, and in
the first few minutes of the second half Town had to fight more
of a rearguard action with Barnsley showing much more fight. We
were lucky not to fall behind during this spell of pressure particularly
when Robbie van der Laan headed narrowly wide following a Barnsley
free kick. Having weathered the early storm Town began to re-establish
themselves and Dean Gorré headed narrowly over with an hour on the
clock and within a minute or so was unceremoniously brought down
as he raced towards goal. It was always my understanding that players
should ‘walk’ for these indiscretions but the referee to the disgust
of the home fans only awarded a yellow card to the Barnsley defender.
When you are at the wrong end of the table these sorts of decisions
always seem to go against you and less than 5 minutes later we were
cursing our luck further when Barnsley took a lucky lead. Visiting
defender Brian O’Callaghan found himself in space on the right wing
and played a low hopeful cross into the Town penalty area, unfortunately
the ball bounced awkwardly and Rob Kozluk only succeeded in deflecting
the ball into the back of the net of his stomach. It’s just the
way that our fortunes are going this season and it was not a deserved
strike for Toby Tyke and Co.
For once Town didn’t let their heads drop and continued to search
for a goal and once again referee Jones courted controversy when
he denied Town a penalty when Dean Gorré was again brought down
when he looked from my position (and most of the rest of the Kilner
Bank) to be inside the area. Mr Jones though otherwise and a free
kick was awarded right on the edge of the 18-yard box and Kevin
Miller somehow saved Vincent’s powerfully struck shot with his legs.
Despite this setback Town continued to press forward and finally
received their reward on 80 minutes. Making amends for his earlier
faux pas, Rob Kozluk supplied a chipped ball towards the Barnsley
area that was deftly flicked on by Martin Smith past the stranded
Kevin Miller and into the back of the net. It was no less than we
deserved for the battling performance, although Nico Vaesen still
had to be on his mettle in the last minute of stoppage time tipping
over a fierce drive from Matt Appleby to ensure we didn’t record
yet another home blank.
There were a number of things to feel positive about from the
performance and my post match beer in the Albert didn’t taste too
bitter even though we still haven’t won at home in 7 attempts this
season. Although the standard of play if getting better, we cannot
afford to let too many more home games pass without recording some
maximum point returns. We can’t be chopping and changing managers
every other season, but how long can things be allowed to slide
before Mr Rubery wields the axe? Grimsby and Sheffield Wednesday
are only a point behind and now have a game in hand, whilst at the
other end of the table Fulham have a perfect 100% record.
TOWN 1 (Smith 80)
Barnsley 1 (Kozluk o.g 66)
Position in table – 23rd
Town – Vaesen; Kozluk; Vincent; Armstrong;
Lucketti; Gorré; Beech; Irons; Gallen; Smith; Thornley (Baldry
90). Subs not used – Margetson; Sellars; Facey; Gray.
Barnsley – Miller; O’Callaghan; Barker;
Morgan; Moses; Woan; McClare (Appleby 76); Van der Laan; Ward;
Shipperley; Dyer (Sheron 54); Subs not used – Walker; Jones;
Referee – Mike Jones (Chester). Attendance