Rochdale 3, Barnsley 0
(SkyBet League One)
Barnsley’s heroic efforts against Everton just a few days earlier took its toll – as they appeared leggy and lethargic at Spotland on Saturday.
As a result they were given the runaround by a Rochdale team managed by their former boss Keith Hill – and featuring three ex-Reds, Jim McNulty, Tom Kennedy and late substitute Reuben Noble-Lazarus.
Barnsley’s current head coach Lee Johnson had made three changes to the side that started Wednesday night’s televised cup classic against Everton, but the refreshing and rejigging made little difference.
Ian Henderson – reportedly a Barnsley transfer target during this transfer window – marked his 400th career appearance with a goal as Rochdale eased to the three points.
Veteran front man Calvin Andrew had given the home side a dream start with a fine effort after just eight minutes – and Peter Vincenti’s downward header doubled the lead shortly after the half hour mark.
Henderson’s decisive dink over Reds keeper Adam Davies made it 3-0 in the second period.
Said a disappointed Reds head coach Lee Johnson: “You can have all the excuses in the world, we all know what they are, but we didn’t do enough.
“Were there circumstances? Can I write it off? No. I thought two or three went under, mentally, which I’ll keep in house but I’ll have a word with them.
“I just thought we lacked what we’ve normally got which is that bit of quality and that bit of energy. I’m not saying that as an excuse from the other day, I’m just saying that as a fact.
“Am I worried? No. Not at all. Because when it goes from Saturday to Saturday, we’ll have a lot more time to get working with the players. I was a bit disappointed in a couple for different reasons but that’s life.
“Thanks to the fans because they still made themselves enjoy it even though we didn’t give them much to enjoy. We move on and we have to move on very quickly.
“I’ve been there before as a player, there were far too many unforced errors. Rochdale are a good side. It was a bad time to play them, they’ve got a lot of energy.
“I’m disappointed because I’m looking for those leaders in the group.
“I don’t regret making three changes because I wanted to show trust in the squad. I think the players will regret their performance.
“Our supporters are an educated bunch, they see what we’re trying to do. They knew it wasn’t a usual performance from us as far as our energy levels are concerned.
“The fixture list wasn’t kind and our players weren’t good. When you get those two clashes, you’re in for a poor game.”