The evening to off to an inauspicious start, which didn’t bode well. Knowing that there were roadworks on our usual route to Oakwell we went a different way, only to get caught up in traffic.
We made it to our seats in time for Wolves’ first corner and immediately thought, ‘oh dear’. Some were using far stronger terms than that!
For the first five minutes or so we thought we were in for a real thumping, and the changes in the Barnsley line-up, although they were maybe forced on the manager, didn’t help. It was a frenetic opening from Wolves and they looked really good going forward in attack. It was obvious they were looking to snatch an early goal. And they did.
One routine ‘toilet break’ comment was that we always seem to concede an early goal when the back line is changed, and in that opening period one or two people around us began to criticise the manager. Can you believe it? Surely we have to give him great credit for what he has already done and give him time to build on it.
As the game went on it became apparent that Wolves were fragile in defence and our lads, who in the past would have allowed their heads to drop, rolled up their sleeves and battled away.
No-one was too downhearted at half-time as most people – except the eternal pessimists behind us – thought that we could still get something out of the match. Even the interval music was optimistic: ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing’s going to be all right.’
The common feeling was that Wolves deserve to be bottom of the league.
There was a superb one-handed save from Steele and the general opinion was that Dagnall deserved the man of the match award for scoring one goal and helping to lay on another.
The one exception was the next England manager behind us who requires Dagnall to score from every attempt in order to be satisfied with his performance. He also thought that Perkins had a poor game!
Due to circumstances beyond our control it was our first viewing of the rejuvenation under Flitcroft and he has obviously created a fantastic team spirit – as shown when all the players ran to the bench to celebrate after Mellis scored.
There was even singing, clapping, chanting and standing in the East Stand upper tier – and we can’t remember the last time that happened. It was a fantastic atmosphere.
Great to see the improved attendance, too. Long may it continue.
However, that, in itself, creates a problem. We reached our car in euphoric mood, but that quickly changed as we sat in line, not moving at all. Something needs to be done to improve the exits from the car park after the match.
For example, if a gate could be opened on to Grove Street for right turners only it would help a great deal. When the top gate used to be opened – before the new system was introduced – traffic seemed to flow much better.
Eventually a steward opened the gate to Beevor Court to alleviate the congestion. Even so, it was half past ten before we got home. We might still have been in the car park had that steward not used some common sense!
Bigger crowds will worsen the situation; tempers will flare, and cars will be damaged.