After Saturday’s win over MK Dons, us fans were confident of getting something from in-form Barnsley. I know the performance wasn’t brilliant at the weekend, but three points is all that matters in our situation. The players would have travelled to Yorkshire full of confidence, but the display certainly lowered the supporter’s confidence again.
The first half was genuinely one of the poorest 45 minutes I have seen all season in terms of entertainment value. Swirling winds played a part as both teams looked to get to grips with the game, but it was a dire half of football it really was. Chances were few and far between, with the main one coming to the Sky Blues. Jim O’Brien stole the ball in the centre of the park and thrusted forward before playing in Marcus Tudgay, the striker then hit the foot of the post – it was potentially a real game changer.
From this point, Barnsley seemed to edge the game in terms of possession. However, they struggled to create too many chances as City’s back line dealt quite well with the disadvantage of playing against the wind first half. The Sky Blues did enjoy some good passages of play but every time we looked to get in to dangerous areas Dominic Samuel would be flagged offside. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been very good for us so far, but he’s been caught offside more than Darren Huckerby. The one that frustrated me the most was when Fleck played in a delightful cross, Samuel then headed towards goal but the keeper saved well, but if he had scored he would of been needlessly flagged offside again.
In the second half, we created a few chances which could of sealed the game. Our inability to score goals caused us problems again though and cost us at least a point. The first golden oppurtunity came on 55 minutes after Jim O’Brien showed great feet before conjuring up a great cross to Odelusi, the winger then headed straight at the keeper from six yards out. And just 3 minutes later we were made to pay as the Tykes took the lead. Poor defending by City allowed the home side too much space out wide before communing a foul. Conor Hourihane then stood over the gal before whipping in a cross which George Waring then headed emphatically across Lee Burge to make it 1-0.
From this point, the home side started to enjoy possession for prolonged spells as they knocked the ball easily around the park. They continued to get in to wide areas frequently as they found the Sky Blues midfield easy to break down… I’ve said that a few times this season. We just simply made it too easy for them to dictate play, and it looked effortless at times. When we had the ball ourselves, we didn’t really use it effectively as there seemed to be no movement again which caused us to be predictable. Every time we got the ball in midfield we were forced to pass sidewards or backwards, allowing the home side to press us and force us in to mistakes.
Things started to change for the better when Frank Nouble and Blair Turgott came on, with both of them injecting some pace and flair to the side. Another superb chance was carved out on 78 minutes as Nouble bursted towards the byline before drilling a ball across the six yard box, Chris Stokes was then a few yards off the pace as he could’ve had a tap in on the line. Nouble was at it again with 4 minutes to play as he skipped round two players and advanced in to the area, he was then pulled down but the referee waved away another stonewall penalty. Two chances also came in injury time as an O’Brien corner picked out Matthew Pennington who saw his goal bound flick cleared off the line. Just seconds later and another chance was passed by after a great Nouble cross wasn’t met with any real purchase. This turned out to be the last chance of the affair as the Sky Blues were condemned to an away defeat.
All I can say now is I hope that Mowbray dissects that and comes up with ideas to improve it. I still firmly believe we have a lot of good Individuals in our squad, it’s just getting them to play as a collective group. I know there’s only 13 games left to go and Mowbray needs to turn things around… And quickly. Hopefully we stay up this season and he can then shape his own squad, with preference being the midfield as getting through it is like a knife through butter at times…
Anyway, despite the result it was a decent night with some top people. They’re the ones that keep me going, at least when we lose on a freezing night 3 hours away from home, I’m in good company!
Roll on Saturday at home! PUSB
Lee Burge – 7
Chris Stokes – 6.5
Aaron Martin – 7
Matthew Pennington – 6.5
Aaron Phillips – 6
John Fleck – 6
Jim O’Brien – 7
Adam Barton – 6
Dominic Samuel – 6
Marcus Tudgay – 6.5
Nick Proschwitz- 6
Frank Nouble – 7
Blair Turgott – 6.5