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EAST-STANDERS: Equaliser came just as mood was darkening

Forget Albert Square, Oakwell is the only place to be for our exclusive take on Barnsley FC, from the fans who take their seat in the stands to cheer on the super Reds. Here is the latest instalment – as Barnsley fought out a 1-1 home draw with Burnley…. 

In the normal course of events football fans are disappointed if their team does not win, or at least draw, their home matches. It has come to the point where we East-Standers are relieved when we haven’t lost! The visit of Burnley on Tuesday night was an example.

And what was our manager saying about conceding goals from corner-kicks after the defeat by Cardiff City last Saturday? So what do we do when Burnley come to call? Concede from a corner-kick. As soon as that happened we lost all hope of winning the game; the least we could expect was a draw.

The equaliser came right out of the blue just before the break and it came just in the nick of time because the mood around us was beginning to turn nasty. People were watching our performance and saying: ‘What’s going on? This is awful.’

We were better after that. It wasn’t great by any means, but there was some improvement, and, in the end, we felt more encouraged. At least we were beginning to fire in a few shots at goal.

Worryingly the defence remained shaky and we were all in dread of Burnley winning another flag-kick. We were all shouting: ‘Please don’t give them a corner!’ Nobody expects a player to go through a game without making a few mistakes, but when he makes mistakes time after time it is not acceptable and, sadly, McNulty had one of those nights.

The half-time toilet talk centred around the fact that we had no width to our play and we repeatedly made too many passes without actually getting any nearer Burnley’s goal. This is so frustrating. There was one time when we took a free-kick, made four passes and ended up back where the free-kick had been taken in the first place! We got to counting the number of passes and making note of the end result. Time after time we totted up four, five, six, even seven passes – then we either gave the ball away or lost possession.

And why were we playing a right-footer on the left and a left-footer on the right? What a difference when they switched!

Visiting teams have us sussed. They all look for that early goal, then sit back and rely on counter-attacks, confident in the knowledge that we will find it very difficult to break them down.

The biggest cheer – apart from when they flashed up the Sheffield Wednesday score – was when O’Brien came on. At last we then had some width, and what a difference that made. It also took him less than a minute to test the goalkeeper, giving a positive example to all the rest of the team. If you don’t shoot you’ll never score. There does seem to be this reluctance to have a pot at goal. Plenty of passing in front of the penalty area, but nothing at the end of it.

No width; rare shots on goal; too many passes without making progress; giving goals away at set pieces – is it any wonder we were left questioning the role of the coaches in all this.

However, we did manage to take some encouragement in the second half performance. Buzsaky and Greening continued to look a good combination in midfield, Tudgay worked hard and got on the scoresheet – even though the PA announcer gave it to Noble-Lazarus – the substitutions brought further improvement, and we could even have nicked all three points in the end.

Despite all what we have said on the negative side, we feel that we do have the makings of a decent team. If we could just instil a little bit of confidence and be a little bit more positive in our approach we might actually start winning again.


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