The Barnsley head coach is wise in that regard. He has enough on his plate to worry about on the field.
Other matters are way over his head following news that the club’s chief executive, Khaled El-Ahmad, has reportedly written to the league’s governing body to emphasize that the Reds could be forced to take legal action if they are relegated from the club. Championship at the expense of relegation rivals Reading. .
Engineering an instant response to Saturday’s miserable Derby result and performance was all that mattered. If Barnsley stays awake, the form at home is likely to have more to do with it than the courtrooms.
A third successive win for Oakwell was tantalizingly within reach after Domingos Quina followed up his fabulous goal against QPR with another upset.
Unfortunately, a match that will not live long in the memory had another harvesting moment in the fifth minute of a long injury time as the game was delayed in the second half due to an incident at the end of Pontefract Road.
Barnsley, sinking too far in their attempt to hold on to their prized win, failed to clear their lines and withered away, and former Leeds United and Middlesbrough borrower Lewis Baker broke the hearts of the hometowns with a majestic curling iron as good as Quina’s shot.
If Barnsley stay top, they won’t do it by registering an excess of goals, given their meager total, but by getting wins and/or requiring something special. They also have to watch the games, no matter how long. That’s more difficult when you don’t have much experience.
Both managers spoke of a lack of energy and an inability to move the ball quickly from their respective sides on Saturday, with Michael O’Neill particularly quick on his changes with five in total, with Jacob Brown among those promoted against his former club.
Callum Styles switched to central midfield for Barnsley, aware that home form – seven of his last 12 games at Oakwell – is likely to decide his fate, especially with Peterborough and Reading among those to come.
The strength of Stoke’s side is the envy of many in the division, but something has clearly gone wrong of late given their modest position: individual names are one thing, a good team is another.
O’Neill entered the game under more scrutiny than Asbaghi, despite Barnsley being second from bottom.
Despite Baker’s late hit, it will still feel bad under the collar. Chants of ‘Fired in the morning’ and ‘This is embarrassing’ were played before Baker saved the day.
The squad for Barnsley was their high-octane first-half display last time out against Middlesbrough at home, but they couldn’t follow it.
Booed at the weekend, Stoke upped his intensity levels. They had a powerful exit down the left in ex-Hull man Josh Tymon and Baker showed poise in midfield.
Baker came closer than anyone to a breakthrough with his beautiful shot hitting the base of the post after a loose game at the back of the hosts.
There was also a rush when a slippery drive ended with Tymon’s deflected cross shot flying just off target, while Taylor-Harwood Bellis and Phil Jagielka had chances to do better with headers after corners.
Barnsley’s finest hour saw the snapshot of Callum Brittain in the hands of Jack Bonham. Barnsley needed to do more on the restart.
The Stoke stalwarts at the away wing also clearly wanted more, with a cry of ‘Attack, attack’ in the second half illustrative of their current mood.
A scare saw Brad Collins deflect a low cross from Brown, but no one at Stoke Green was stationed to gobble up the rebound.
Previously from this parish, Brown capitalized on a Brittain error before moving forward and unleashing a venomous punch that hissed as Barnsley waited for something to drop at the other end.
More in hope than truth, however, the game was still in the crucible and the Reds showed a more vitriolic touch, before the brilliance of Quina, who ignored a simple pass to score a goal that was anything but simple.
Josh Maja hit the post and fired a deflected chance before Baker took a page out of Quina’s book, furious when he wasn’t awarded a late penalty after the Harwood-Bellis nutmeg and fall.
It remains to be seen how big and brutal the moment Baker’s coup proves in Barnsley’s survival campaign. He will leave them feeling sore for a few days.
Barnsley:Collins; Helik, Andersen, kitchen; Brittain, Styles (Wolfe 83), Gomes, Vita; Quina, Bassi; (Cole 89); Morris. Unused substitutes: Walton, Benson, Moon, Palmer, Oduor.
Stoke City: Bonham; Harwood-Bellis, Jagielka, Chester; Duhaney (Philogene-Bidace.73), Allen, Baker, Thompson (Fletcher 77), Tymon; Brown (Campbell 73), Maja. Unused Subs: Bursik, Vrancic, Wilmot, Sawyers,
Referee: L Doughty (Lancashire).
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This notice was published: 2022-03-08 22:25:19