Date: 5th August 2013 at 1:55pm
Written by:

Barnsley were outclassed and outplayed by a strong Wigan team who will certainly be in the promotion mix up come the end of the season, should they hang on to this talented squad.

Losing to a good team like Wigan does not worry me. What does worry me is the manner of the defeat. We were missing our usual energy and high tempo effort and gave our visitors far too much time on the ball and allowed them to cause us problems.

I also felt that the manager got his team and tactics wrong, something that has been a rarity under Flitcroft`s tenure.

The team that was picked had the personnel more suited to 5-3-2 but instead we played 4-4-2 with Golbourne operating as left winger and Mellis wide right.

I think we would have been better going with wing backs and Mellis slotting in to the middle with Dawson and Perkins.

We struggled to get Mellis involved in the game and we needed him to be involved if we were to create any opportunities against our visitors.

Having said that, Perkins and Dawson were awful. They had as bad a game as you will see them have. I don`t know what the man of the match sponsors were watching when they gave Perkins the man of the match. I won`t be too critical of either as everyone has a bad game and it is rare for those two to play so bad and you can`t usually fault their effort and what they bring to the team.

I still feel the system was wrong but maybe it wasn`t. Maybe it was just our two central players were poor and up against Premier League quality opposition.

Dale Jennings had a debut to remember which lasted all of six minutes. A trip over the ball was quickly followed by a straight red.

The referee got this one badly wrong and it was the reaction of the Wigan players that got him sent off. The Wigan player stayed down faking injury until the red card came out and his Wigan team mates ran over as if it was a two footed leg breaking challenge.

It wasn`t two footed, studs weren`t showing yet the referee produced a red card. Unfortunately it seems football is trying to outlaw any tackle where a player goes to ground. This day will eventually come and it will be the saddest day in the history of football.

At 2 – 0 down and Wigan on top, the sending off had no effect on the result or even the score line. If anything Wigan took their foot off the gas after the sending off and were content to keep the ball and bide their time for any openings to present themselves.

So to the match and it was one that Wigan dominated from start to finish barring a five to ten minute spell in the first half that Barnsley managed to have.

Wigan`s first real chance fell to Maloney whose shot was saved by the legs of Luke Steele.

On 18 minutes Mellis had an effort blocked. The ball fell to Dagnall who also saw his effort blocked by a Wigan defender.

On 36 minutes Wigan scored the opener. Ben Watson rifled home a shot in to the bottom right hand corner from 25 yards. The finish had to be applauded but the time he was given and the fact not one player attempted to close him down was nothing short of criminal.

How Watson was not on a booking at the time of his goal was beyond belief. He and a few Wigan players should have been in by then. The referee let them get away with too much. Particularly the cynical fouls, constant mouthing and blatant refusal to listen to the referees instructions and take free kicks from the correct position despite being told numerous times.

The referee was poor to say the least but luckily for Barnsley it had no effect whatsoever on the result of the game.

Steele produced a smart save from McCarthy on 42 minutes and Boyce smashed one straight at Steele from distance.

The referee finally decided to produce a card when McCarthy was booked for pulling Perkins back on the counter attack.

Half time came with Barnsley trailing by one goal to nil.

On 50 minutes Maloney broke clear of the offside trap and crossed with players arriving in the box. Beausejour failed in his attempt to steer the ball passed Steele.

On 55 minutes Golbourne cleared a Maloney effort off the line but Wigan doubled their lead one minute later. The reds failed to clear a corner, Boyce saw his effort blocked before another shot came in and fell to Holt to score. There was a suspicion of offside against Holt but the reds protested in vain and the goal stood.

On 61 minutes Dale Jennings was introduced for his Barnsley debut. On 67 minutes he was dismissed in another ridiculous red card that has become common place in football.

The reds now had even more of an uphill task and reds boss Flitcroft decided to replace Dagnall with Scotland.

Steele tipped over a McCann 25 yarder. The corner that followed resulted in Leon Barnett making it 3 – 0 as his marker O`Grady got himself in a right old tangle laid on the floor.

In the 89th minute Cranie made a good tackle against Fortune in the box only for the ball to fall kindly to Fortune again. He crossed for Maloney to tap in but M`voto had a chance to clear but somehow got nowhere near the ball.

Full time and a 4 – 0 defeat for Barnsley. The reds couldn`t have asked for a much more difficult start to the season so I remain positive and confident that the super reds will bounce back from this one.

Player Ratings

Steele 7
A few good saves and nothing he could do with the goals.

Wiseman 7
Did his job and used his pace to get back at his winger when he did manage to get away from him.

M’voto 5
Not the best debut possible but far from the worst player on the pitch

Cranie 7.5
Mr reliable yet again. Stayed composed and assured as most of the team crumbled.

Kennedy 6
Did ok. Rating could have been a lot lower had he still been on the pitch when McManaman came on.

Mellis 6
Starved of possession out wide and couldn`t get in to the game.

Dawson 4
An unusually poor display from the midfielder.

Perkins 4
Edges out Dawson for the worst player on the pitch. Usually so reliable, he will never play that bad again.

Golbourne 6
Did a job for the team out of position. Looked more comfortable at left back until McManaman came on. Goal line clearance.

Dagnall 5
Little for the strikers to work with but squandered possession too often when opportunities came their way.

O’Grady 5
Little for the strikers to work with but squandered possession too often when opportunities came their way.

Oh dear. Enough said

Game already over when he came on.

Little time to influence the game.