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 lose their crunch clash with their fierce local rivals…..
We were walking to the ground on Saturday tea-time and we couldn’t believe how quiet it was. We were thinking to ourselves, ‘this is Sheffield Wednesday we’re playing; this is a derby game; and a particularly vital one at that.’ But there was no anticipation, no excitement, no atmosphere. It was dead.
Then we made our way into the East Stand and we’d never seen so many people watching the televisions. The results from the afternoon kick-off matches were coming in and all eyes were on them. Not the Premiership encounters, of course. It was all, ‘How’s Bristol City gone on? What about Ipswich?’ And then, unbelievably: ‘What do you mean, Peterborough have won at Cardiff? They must have got that wrong.’ But they hadn’t, of course. And there were more voices saying, ‘Oh, I don’t like the look of this. If we don’t do something today we could be right in the how’s-your-father.’
Most of the people round us worrying about losing rather than thinking about winning, and many were shaking their heads when the team was announced. Some said O’Brien had been the best player at Leicester the previous week, but he was only on the bench; others said Perkins should be in the side from the start; there were those who wondered why Wiseman was doing the hokey-cokey – you put your centre-half in, centre-half out, in-out, in-out shake him all about. And where was Noble-Lazarus?
There was very much an ‘I told-you-so’ air about the place when Perkins and O’Brien brought a big improvement after coming on as substitutes. Perkins in particular lifted them with his enthusiasm. But the manner of his substitution mystified us. Why wait until just two minutes into the second half before bringing Buzsaky off and sending Perkins on? What was all that about?
As for the Wednesday goal, should it have stood? Was Steele fouled? We don’t know. But when a goalkeeper goes for a ball like that he has to get it. He has to go through players. Schmeichel would have clobbered players and knocked them out of the way to make that ball his.
Tudgay had a great chance to equalise with a header a minute later. That should have gone in, and it could then have been a different story.
We’ve rarely seen a second half where one team has dominated so much and got nowt at all. We had the chances. You could say it’s bad luck, you could say it’s bad finishing. If it happens too often then it’s bad finishing. And it’s happening too often,
The referee took some flak and we have to say that we thought he was poor. But he was poor for both sides. You can’t blame him for this defeat. We had plenty of chances to have won that game comfortably.
That Sheffield Wednesday team was possibly the worst we have ever seen. They were poor from start to finish. They were very direct. Where was the football?
These were were two teams in the relegation zone and playing like it. Nobody wanted the ball long enough to do anything with it, and there was no quality. To be honest we can’t see either of these teams getting out relegation.
There was no booing at the final whistle; no calls for the manager to be sacked. Everybody, it seems, is resigned to the fact that we’re going to go down and it may already be too late to do anything about it.