Home clash against Leeds could kick-start Barnsley’s season

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On paper, the fixture at Carrow Road always looked a difficult one. However, Tykes fans will be disappointed that as with the game at Bristol City, Barnsley were unable to convert a lead into an away win.

The Norwich game differed from that at Ashton Gate in that for much of the ninety minutes Barnsley were very much on the back foot. In the first half, Luke Steele kept the Canaries at bay and it was against the run of play that the Tykes took the lead. With the half time whistle imminent, Jay McEveley rose unchallenged to head the Reds into the lead and so stun the home crowd.

The second half followed the pattern of the first and the Tykes continued to frustrate Norwich with dogged defensive determination. With the home crowd showing signs of restlessness as the game entered the final 20 minutes, Lady Luck finally deserted the valiant Reds rearguard. With Jason Shackell off for treatment and the Tykes down to ten men, a swinging cross by Anthony McNamee was unfortunately headed into his own net by Stephen Foster.

This galvanised the Canaries and with the home crowd baying for a winner, Norwich drove forward feverishly. With ten minutes remaining the pressure paid off as slack marking in the Barnsley box allowed Chris Martin plenty of time and space to curl a second goal into the Tykes net.

Whilst it would be hard to justify that the Reds should have come away with all three points, a point would have been fair given the work the team put in. However, Mark Robins will be disappointed that with ten minutes to go, a lack of concentration in the defence gifted the opportunity for the Norwich winner.

Barnsley continue to shed goals away from home, currently at an average of three a game which is a concern. Thankfully, at Oakwell, the Tykes have yet to concede a goal in the Championship, however this will be sorely tested by the visit tonight of an in-form Leeds United.

Of the 46 League meetings between the teams, Barnsley have won 15, Leeds United 17 and 14 draws – a pretty even spread. The last game at Oakwell in November 2006, ended in a 3-2 victory for the Tykes in front of nearly 17,000. Martin Devaney gave Barnsley the lead on the half hour, only for two goals in a minute from Shaun Derry and Rob Blake to send Leeds in 2-1 up at half time. However, the Tykes fought back and goals from Michael McIndoe (62 mins) and Brian Howard (76 mins) saw the Tykes to a thrilling Yorkshire derby victory.

After the frustrating manner of the defeat at Norwich City, Mark Robins will know that his side has a mammoth task ahead in taking on the Elland Road side who have settled well into life in the Championship. Barnsley’s best performances this season have been at home, and so Tykes fans must hope that another good showing is in the offing tonight.

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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Jay McEveley

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