Once again just when Barnsley football club appear to be digging themselves out of the relegation hole they find themselves in, they conspire to fall straight down that hole again. Relegation from the Championship looks almost nailed on now with 4 games left, with 3 of those against sides in the top 6.
From late November, Barnsley went on a mini revival beating Hull City, QPR, Millwall and drawing with Swansea, West Brom and Reading. The only blot during that period was a 94th minute goal conceded at Cardiff City in a 2-3 defeat. As the reds went into the New Year, another close defeat this time to a Wayne Rooney inspired Derby County still had them close to getting out of the relegation zone. In fact a battling 2-1 home win against neighbours Huddersfield meant the reds were 1 point from safety after looking dead and buried in early November.
Then came the four defeats against Bristol City, Preston, Charlton and Birmingham and one draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Just like a game of snakes and ladders, Barnsley had climbed the ladder only to slide right back down a snake and to square one.The thought of visiting Fulham at Craven Cottage had most fans expecting another heavy defeat. But then came another mini revival this time in the shape of an excellent 3-0 win in the capital at Fulham followed up with two more wins against fellow strugglers Middlesborough and Hull City. Here we go again, the reds are staying up!
The saying goes “it’s the hope that kills you” and that is certainly true of Barnsley this 2019/20 season. Just as Gerhard Strubers’ side have hit some fine form, they hit the self destruct button and undo all the good work. A poor performance at Reading resulted in a 0-2 loss then they followed that up with an even worse performance losing by the same score at home to Cardiff. Then Covid-19 struck and the football season stayed in limbo.
As the season has been so drawn out due to lockdown, it has felt a very slow and painful season for Tykes fans. Constantly clinging to the hope that Barnsley will stay up, wondering if the club will get a reprieve due to Covid and the Championship be ended prematurely or wondering if other sides will suffer points deductions which could save the reds.Nobody gives you a freebie in football and Barnsley will have to do it themselves if they are to fight off relegation.
Come the restarting of the Championship season and wonders never cease with Barnsley finally winning at QPR for the first time in what felt like 800 years (1950 to be precise) but you get what I mean. What followed was a battling draw with Millwall and a promising 2-0 victory over play off chasing Blackburn Rovers. They couldn’t do it could they? With as many as 10 sides in the relegation dogfight if you include the Owls and a possible points deduction, the great escape was on again. Only for the reds to put in another horror show in a must win game at Stoke who were in free fall and followed up with a draw at bottom of the table Luton and you cannot help but think Barnsley have shot themselves well and truly in the foot, again.
Just when the reds put a string of fine results together, there is a horror show around the corner. Maybe this latest horror show is over and Barnsley can put one last fine run together in the final 4 games? One can hope but It’s the hope that kills you.