Marcus Tudgay`s first goal for Barnsley cancelled out the inevitable Charlie Austin goal to give Barnsley a 1 – 1 draw at home to Burnley.
Barnsley conceded after only five minutes as Charlie Austin headed home from a corner. Yes that`s right another corner. How can a professional team be so inept at defending set pieces? We are not the tallest side but losing your man repeatedly at this level is unacceptable. It`s a problem Barnsley have had for a long time now and no manager that comes in seems able to rectify it. The same applies at the other end. When we get an attacking set piece there is anticipation and optimism from the crowd only for there to be a big let-down. How many goals have we actually scored from corners over the last ten years? There won`t be many teams with less and it will certainly be well behind the total that we have conceded.
After a sluggish opening five minutes the goal seemed to kick Barnsley into life for a while, the same applied on Saturday against Cardiff. In that game the reds were superb for the last half hour or so but it took them going 2 – 0 down to get going and the game was already lost despite pulling one back and penalty claims turned down.
Barnsley`s equaliser arrived with a fine looping header from Marcus Tudgay. Goldbourne, much improved over the last two games, crossed from the left and Tudgay outleapt his man to find the back of the net.
The wind was in Barnsley`s sails a little bit now as they hunted a second goal. Noble-Lazarus had a shot blocked. Then former red Jason Shackle managed to hack a Mellis cross clear. Mellis delivered again shortly after but no Barnsley players were there to attack the ball in a dangerous area.
Burnley had the best chance of the second half when Ings fired a low shot that struck the post and luckily for Barnsley bounced away from danger.
Barnsley had the majority of the possession in the second half but were severely lacking in the final third. The reds struggled to get many shots away or balls in to the box when the opportunity arose and seemed more content for a patient build up and to keep the ball. If Barnsley are to get results in this league they need to up the tempo of their play and pass the ball quicker. They also need to take more risks when they get in and around the opposition box. The possession game is alright to that point but then it`s time to bombard the box with shots and crosses.
On 70 minutes Tudgay linked up with Davies allowing Davies to hit a shot that zipped just wide of the post.
Buzsaky then had a shot from 25 yards which the keeper did well to hold.
O`Brien and Sinclair were introduced for the reds. This gave the reds a bit more energy and impetus but they were still restricted to shots from outside the box.
The reds had one final chance when Sinclair was cynically hacked down on a run towards goal. There were other defenders around so it was only a booking. Buzsaky managed to test the keeper with the resulting free kick but it was one that was fairly comfortable for Grant in the Burnley goal.
After the match Barnsley manager Keith Hill said he was pleased with the overall performance but felt his players lacked the confidence to make the right decisions in the final third of the field and they will work on being more productive in this area.
This was something I was pleased to hear Hill say as I thought that there had been an instruction from the management with an emphasis on keeping the ball unless they were sure.
I feel it will be a long hard season though and as Ipswich gain momentum it is beginning to look like three from four even at this stage of the season.
On the plus side most of the sides that I have seen at Oakwell this season are as poor as us and are there to be beaten. If we stop conceding bad goals off set pieces and start pulling the trigger more in the final third then I think we could be just about ok. That is unless Davies and/or Steele are flogged in January.