For the second time this season, a match with Bristol City has yielded a total of six goals, however this time the Reds emerged convincing winners in contrast to the two goal lead that was surrendered at Ashton Gate at the beginning of the season.
It took a while for Barnsley to get going, even though the team had a more balanced look to it with a line-up that was very close to Mark Robins’ best eleven. Marvin Elliott gave Bristol City the lead on just seven minutes and it seemed like it was going to be a long afternoon at Oakwell…yet again.
Hugo Colace was given another opportunity to rediscover his form from last year, however the Barnsley manager will be disappointed to see that Colace didn’t look particularly interested in putting in the required effort today. Whether he is feeling isolated as a South American in a mainly British squad, no-one knows, however it would not be surprising if his 20-odd minute appearance today is the last we see of him in a Barnsley shirt.
Colace left the field with an apparent injury caused by a poor challenge from behind the he made on Jamal Campbell-Ryce. This allowed Jacob Mellis, returning from injury, the opportunity to show us what he could do with the difference to the Reds being almost immediate although the reluctance of the team to commit players forward meant an equaliser never seemed likely.
Barnsley have been on the wrong side of a few questionable penalty awards this season, but it was the Reds turn to receive a gift from referee Nigel Miller who judged that Elliott had handled in the box as Mellis attempted to put in a cross. The ball certainly hit Elliot’s harm, however he would argue that it was ball to hand with him being so close. Andy Gray stepped up to equalise, with former England number one David James barely moving.
Just a few minutes later, Kieran Trippier looked to have David James beaten with a free-kick, however the experienced goalkeeper pulled off an excellent save to tip the ball around the post.
If Danny Haynes was looking to send a message to his former employers he certainly did that as the Reds went into a 2-1 lead. Haynes did well to carry the ball into the box and passed to Gray who couldn’t quite beat the keeper, but Haynes was on hand to follow up and complete the move with a goal from just a couple of yards out.
It was a good comeback from Barnsley who had managed to grab the lead for the first time in the game without ever really controlling it. The revival was complete in spectacular fashion as Jacob Butterfield fired a long range effort in off the post – a type of strike that has been absent from Oakwell since the departure Adam Hammill.
Despite holding a two goal lead going into the second half, there was still air of anxiety around Oakwell given that the amount of goals the team have conceded this season with Nicky Maynard in particular always looking a threat.
Andy Gray could have given Barnsley a much larger cushion when he followed up with a shot from a Haynes effort, however he couldn’t find the target. The Reds fourth goal did come ten minutes later from a somewhat unlikely source, Paul McShane heading in from a Butterfield corner on 56 minutes.
Both sides continued to create half-chances however a stunning comeback for the Robins was never really on the cards. The referee gave another, arguably soft, penalty but this time to the visitors with around ten minutes to go – former captain Foster adjudged to have brought down Adomah allowing Maynard to reduce the deficit slightly.
- Barnsley won for the first time on a Saturday since early December 2010, but to beat a team that was in hot form so convincingly while also coming from behind to do so will be particularly satisfying for Mark Robins.
- Jacob Mellis – despite not being at full-fitness and being forced to come on earlier than he might have expected, he was excellent today and it is easy to see why he is rated so highly by Chelsea. Whether he is actually good enough to break into the Chelsea team though is another story!
- The other Jacob (Butterfield) showing that he can add something to the team when he starts a game and not just when he comes on as sub. Even without the excellent goal he scored today, he still offered a lot to the team and showed that he may be capable of making a central midfield spot his own.
- In general, the fans (and myself) have been critical of Andy Gray for the past few months, however he put in an excellent performance today and is certainly beginning to offer much more than Garry O’Connor (who was mysteriously absent today?) appears to be capable of at the moment.
- Marlon Harewood seems to be getting better with every game. His initial lack of performance had, in some quarters, been put down to being ‘over-the-hill’ as opposed to a lack of match fitness. Today he showed that the Reds manager and chairman should be doing all they can to sign him on a permanent basis for next season.
- Mark Robins seems to have a phobia of substitutions. In a number of recent games, he has kept players on the field (particularly forwards) who are absolutely shattered when there are capable replacements available on the bench – surely if they aren’t capable, they wouldn’t be on the bench? Again today, the game was won, a tough game against QPR awaits and the only substitution (other Mellis replacing an injured Colace), was a three minute cameo for Ruben Nobel-Lazarus who replaced Andy Gray.
- Despite being one of the cheaper tickets, today’s game saw one of the lowest crowds for a league game at Oakwell this season. However, you really can’t blame the ‘pay on the day’ fans – looking at recent results for both teams, a win didn’t look likely for the Reds today and there is little to play for this season. Hopefully this low attendance will spark a reaction from Don Rowing who could perhaps reduce the price of home games until the end of the season?
- After being one of the star players for Barnsley last season, Hugo Colace has been disinterested this season. Surely he has played his last game for the club, Mark Robins won’t be doing himself any favours either if he continues to keep faith with him.
- Campbell-Ryce expects a mixed reception (barnsleyfc.com)
- Is Mark Robins under pressure? (barnsleyfc.com)
- Barnsley look to offload Colace (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Colace sticks with Tykes (skysports.com)
- Chelsea management expect big things from Jacob Mellis (tribalfootball.com)