Date: 10th August 2016 at 1:32pm
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Barnsley suffered their second defeat of the season when League One newcomers Northampton Town scored in extra time to leave Oakwell victorious and secure their progress to second round of EFL cup.

Barnsley`s return to the Championship at Portman Road on Saturday suggested that, whilst they are capable of playing attractive possession football, they need to be more clinical in the final third and also tighten up defensively.

The game against Northampton was more of the same despite the opposition being from a lower level.

The stats show that the reds were dominant in terms of possession, shots, shots on target etc. etc. Those stats are however meaningless if they cannot convert them in to victories.

Barnsley led at half time through a Josh Scowen header and had controlled the first half almost entirely. The reds had dominated possession of the ball and had put Northampton on the back foot throughout.

At half time it seemed that Barnsley would comfortably win this encounter, in fact it seemed more like a training game than a competitive match.

The second half however was a different story and while the reds still had the lion`s share of possession and created the most chances, Northampton came in to the game more and had a good 15 minute spell when they were on top and had chances to win the game in normal time.

My biggest worry from what I have seen so far this season is the form of goalkeeper Adam Davies. He gifted the visitors their equaliser when he miss punched a clearance that spun back in to his own net. A feat that was almost impossible to do from the position he was in and secondly it should have been a routine catch rather than an attempted punch anyway.

This time last year I was calling for us to sign a new goalkeeper. Davies however improved dramatically as the season progressed and before this season began I was confident that he would be a quality Championship goalkeeper. Unfortunately at the moment it looks like his confidence is shot and he needs a good game without a mistake against Derby otherwise we could be in serious trouble going forward.

At the time of the equaliser, the visitors had still not produced an effort on target but this was a real catalyst for them and it gave them the belief they needed to win the game.

Their winner was almost as bad as the equaliser from the reds perspective as we gifted them a free header from a corner as the game seemed destined for penalties.

The reds main problem for me in this game was their decision making in the final third. On almost every occasion it seemed that they would make an extra pass when the shot was the right option or shooting when they should have passed.

Sam Winnall was a big miss and in his absence Tom Bradshaw was deployed as a lone striker with George Moncur in the hole behind him.

Both struggled to make an impact on the game and Moncur for want of a better term, well he had an absolute stinker. He looked well off the pace, his touch was awful and he was the first to be withdrawn when the reds decided that changes were needed.

Scowen and Hourihane played well together in the centre of midfield but Adam Hammill summed up the Barnsley performance with his reluctance to pass when a pass was on and too often he ran in to trouble or had a shot when he shouldn`t have.

Ryan Kent was introduced in the place of Moncur and this meant that the reds went 4-4-2 with Watkins going up top.

The reds looked more threatening with this change with Watkins looking good up front. Kent, despite his blistering pace and willingness to run at the opposition, looks as though he isn`t quite ready to mix it with the men and any type of physical presence just brushes him off the ball.

Chances began to come for the reds but it never really looked like being our night. Watkins and Hammill both forced the keeper in to saves. And the same two players both missed the target with the goal gaping.

In between all this the visitors had their chances too and looked more likely of sneaking a winner.

Substitute Stefan Payne rattled the angle of the bar and post. He looked impressive when he came on and if I were the manager I would be looking to start him up front with Bradshaw whilst Winnall is out.

Northampton forced another corner seven minutes from the end of extra time and Johnjoe O`Toole rose unchallenged to power home the winner.

The reds then forced a run of corners but probably wouldn`t have scored if we had still been there on Friday night.

I like to look for positives in defeat and I think there were plenty in terms of style of play. Unfortunately I think there were more negatives to take and Hecky has a lot of work ahead of him.

I`d like to finish off with a criticism of the club. Only opening the east stand was a poor idea and created a terrible atmosphere for the players. It also meant that a lot of the crowd got in to the ground late as there wasn`t enough staff to cope with the demand of the pay on the gate fans. It`s a good job we didn`t get through because if we had most of the fans in attendance last night wouldn`t have bothered for the next round with such a shambles.