Just as Leicester recently outplayed Leeds United at Elland Road, so the team from the Midlands repeated the trick at Oakwell on Saturday. Had it not been for the fine form of Reds’ keeper Luke Steele, this game would have been over well before half time.
However he was powerless when on 17 minutes a Martyn Waghorn free kick was headed in by Portuguese defender Angelo Miguel Vitor, who was left unmarked. With his team suffering from a lack of possession, Mark Robins made a double substitution on the half-hour mark to try and change the pattern of the game. Hayes and Wood gave way to Gray and Doyle, but in truth this did little to spark a response from the home team.
Barnsley did improve in the second half and finally registered an attempt on goal on the hour. The reality though was that Leicester still looked the more likely to score and did eventually wrap up the game with four minutes to go, when Andy King slotted home Paul Gallagher’s cross. The result means that Sven-Goran Eriksson's side leapfrog the Reds, who are left only two points above the drop zone.
Mark Robins in his post-match analysis stated that his side ‘must learn from this game’.
However, what must be worrying for all those associated with the club is that although all the right noises are coming from the manager, the players don’t seem to be able to respond.
Tomorrow night, Barnsley travel to Lancashire to take on a Preston team who are showing signs of recovery. In their last game at Deepdale, Preston overcame fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-3 and on Saturday took a very creditable point from their trip to Bristol City.
Last season the fixtures produced two quite bizarre results. Back in August 2009, Preston came to Oakwell and won the game 3-0. Not to be outdone, the Reds then went to Deepdale in February this year and duly thumped their hosts 4-1. The Tykes goals came from Anderson De Silva, Michael Hart (OG), Andy Gray and Jay Rodriguez
Whilst not suggesting that Barnsley will come away with a similar result tomorrow, given their recent run, a draw would come as a blessed relief to Robins and his team right now.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.