Harold Wilson famously said that ‘a week in politics is a long time’ - it certainly could be applied in football terms to events at Barnsley at the minute.
Three games in the space of a week and just one point out of a possible nine. The debacle against the ten men of Reading was followed in midweek by a dour point at Scunthorpe United.
Therefore, Tykes’ fans would have been looking for a positive response to those two results in the home clash with high flying Cardiff City.
However, the first half did little to show that Barnsley were going to break their recent poor run. In a largely uneventful first 45 minutes, the only real piece of class, unfortunately for the Oakwell faithful, came from the visitors.
With just three minutes to the break, Jay Boothroyd’s well judged cross field ball was controlled by Peter Whittingham. He then slid a pass back to Craig Bellamy, who after one touch slotted it coolly home. It was cruel on the Tykes as neither side had done much to warrant a half time lead.
Barnsley started in a more determined fashion in the second half and on 63 minutes were level. Cardiff didn’t clear their lines and after a protracted goal mouth scramble, Jason Shackell fired home.
However, the status quo didn’t last long, as Cardiff were awarded a penalty after Foster handled in the area within three minutes. Luke Steele saved the effort from Peter Whittingham, but from the resulting corner, and Barnsley claiming off-side, Seyi Olofinjana restored the Bluebirds' advantage.
Cardiff were content to sit back on their lead, but the Reds never really looked like getting an equaliser. Even with Cardiff reduced to ten men on 82 minutes with the dismissal of Darcy Blake, Mark Robins’ team didn’t have the guile to take advantage. This left the Tykes tamely surrendering their unbeaten home record this season.
The international break has probably come at an opportune time for Mark Robins' team. Tykes fans would have hoped that the sparkling display against Leeds United would have provided a real platform from which to progress.
Unfortunately, it has only resulted in a slump. The last few displays have lacked inspiration and ideas. If the recent slide isn’t arrested, the Reds will find themselves looking at Christmas and the New Year embroiled in a relegation fight.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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