Written by Ian Hope
Worst possible start for the Tykes
Barnsley never got a foot hold in the game
This time last week Barnsley fans were waxing lyrical and purring over a superb victory over promotion hopefuls Fulham. A week in football is a long time and he we are, two games in and we have seen the Jekyll and Hyde of Daniel Stendel`s Barnsley. If proof was ever needed, today showed the Tykes are lacking some Championship experience and know how.
Pre match reds fans were buoyant in the away end at Hillsborough giving the Bambo Diaby song a good airing in the concourses. Maybe, just maybe today Barnsley would break their hoodoo at Hillsborough and take all three points for the first time since 2009? However, after two minutes all that optimism was blown away when the Owls scored.
The build up to Wednesday`s goal set the tone for the Reds performance when Cameron McGeehan gave the ball away under no pressure and Wednesday took full advantage with debutant Jacob Murphy slotting past Radlinger. If the task wasn’t hard enough, the Reds just made it even harder for themselves.
Time and time again players in red were guilty of giving the ball away. As wonderful was the first half performance against Fulham, the first half at Hillsborough was horrific.
Last week the defence played themselves into trouble trying to play out from the back, but managed to get away with it. This week they did not. Once again defenders would pass the ball across their own penalty area, playing themselves into trouble with Wednesday forwards chasing them down. Seeing defenders dwelling on the ball only just managing to squirm out of sticky situations gave reds fans heart attacks throughout the first half. It was clear that no one in red had learned from McGeehan`s first minute mistake.
Throughout the team, players passing was off. Poor service to the front three, midfield being over run and most alarming was how Cavare and Sibbick were tore apart by Wednesday`s wingers.
Cavare regularly drifted up-field and into midfield failing to keep the defensive shape which left the reds exposed when Wednesday won the ball back. Time and again throughout the game, Wednesday would launch long balls into the channels knowing either Murphy or Harris would terrorise Sibbick and Cavare. When it should have been Thomas and Wilks doing the exact same to the Owls.
Apart from two long range freekicks from Mowatt, Barnsley offered nothing up front until the 43rd minute when the reds came close with a couple of chances that flashed wide. Although captain Bahre tried more than most, even he was guilty of losing the ball which Wednesday capitalised on.
No cohesion, no leader, Barnsley trudged off looking like a side that lacked experience at this level.
In the second half, the game became more stretched but the same errors were occurring. Andersen and Diaby were having to deal with the errors from Sibbick and Radlinger was proving himself a good shot stopper.
Once Wednesday went two up, the game was effectively over. For the first time in the day, the home crowd found their voices and having a two goal cushion the Owls could then relax and play on the counter.
You couldn’t help but think had the reds got a goal back if things may have been different. Roared on by 2,500 fans in the upper tier behind the goal maybe just maybe Barnsley would have had a real go at their hosts. Many supporters around me were saying the same, had Barnsley played anything like they did last week then the result would have been very different.
Barnsley never got into a rhythm. Never got their wingers running at Wednesday fullbacks, the midfield never dominated in fact it was a bad day at the office.
Wednesday won without flattering anyone. They knew how to win free kicks in 50/50 situations, played percentages with long balls into the channels and their game management was much better. All the hallmarks of a side used to playing at this level.
Whilst the youth and vibrancy of Stendel`s side will get you off your seat at times, it was clear from today that his side lacks experience.
Cauley Woodrow`s performance came in for criticism today and although he was quiet last week also, you have to look at the lack of service he has been getting in the 4-3-3 formation. He was guilty of failing to hold the ball up, of poor passing but too often long balls were hit to him which he was always going to struggle to win.
Whilst today was disappointing as the reds never turned up and in a derby game, that is difficult to take. On the other hand, we should not be too hard on the team who were frankly superb last week. Everyone would have taken three points after these difficult two games before a ball was kicked. The upcoming two home games against Charlton and Luton are must wins. If Barnsley are to stay in this division it will be results against fellow sides around them and not games against the top six that defines their season.
As much as I cringe at footballers saying on social media “We go again”, you have to put this one to bed and go again.
What are your thoughts on the game? Feel free to share your thoughts on the performance here.