THIS was no way to celebrate 250 games in charge of a club.
Yet that experience allied to approaching 1,000 managerial matches will stand Danny Wilson in good stead as he prepares to rally his Barnsley side ahead of tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster Rovers at Oakwell.
Wilson had said beforehand that the next two home games could be pivotal to the Reds’ season and his selection underlined his intent to get on the front foot and go for maximum points.
However, it was not his 4-3-3 formation nor injuries to striker Sam Winnall (hamstring) and central defender Peter Ramage (thigh) that caused a fifth home league defeat against a side who began the day next to bottom of the division.
It was due to an all-round failure by his players to compete and get to grips with an Iron set-up which had two players protecting the back four and a buzzing midfield trio giving great backing to lone frontman Lyle Taylor.
How Wilson must have wished he had a clone of his own tenacious battling midfield self for the Iron drove through that area of the pitch almost at will.
How he must also have wished that Devante Cole possessed the same finishing prowess of watching father and former England striker Andrew for the Manchester City loanee could have rescued the game when he showed instant control of a ball cutting in from the left only to lash a shot over the bar in the 70th minute.
And when it came to defending the lead in the closing stages, former Owls central defender Miguel Llera repelled everything Barnsley could throw at them – the closest they came being when Ramage’s replacement, Jean-Yves M’Voto, was inches from connecting with a free-kick to the far post from Conor Hourihane.
To be fair, Scunthorpe also threatened to add to their 2-1 interval lead with Ross Turnbull parrying shots from the edge of the area from Taylor and Luke Williams.
The Barnsley goalkeeper could not be faulted for either Scunthorpe goal from Dubliner Paddy Madden.
Turnbull had done well to beat down a fierce effort from Gary McSheffrey only to see Madden react the quickest and hook home the equaliser less than a minute after Barnsley had taken the lead.
Madden was then allowed to drive through the middle as Reds players back-pedalled in first-half stoppage time and strike a low shot past Turnbull after receiving a fortunate rebound off Lewin Nyatanga.
“Put a foot in? I would have booted him over the stand if I saw that and taken a booking,” said an exasperated Wilson.
“That’s where you sometimes need that type of person in your team. In this day and age, though, you don’t get that sort of cynical tackle but sometimes you have to take one for the team.
“Is it right to encourage that? Possibly not but, at the same time, you don’t want to lose a goal.”
On a possible January move, Wilson continued: “We are not talking about someone who goes round booting people but somebody who just senses where the danger is. Where we are at the moment is that we have one or two who need the games and experience to gauge that.”
While no one escaped criticism, striker Marcello Trotta did his cause no harm.
Handed his first league start of the season, Trotta not only scored Barnsley’s 29th-minute opener, lashing the ball into the roof of the net after Joe Dudgeon had overlapped onto Cole’s neat lay-off and pinged a low cross from the left, but also had a sound game as target man.
The Reds’ cause had not been helped, however, when Winnall, who fired 23 goals for the Iron last season, over-stretched attempting to reach a ball down the right channel and had to be helped off down the tunnel and almost certainly out of tomorrow’s derby.
Ramage departed after the break and he, too, will also struggle to make it, though M’Voto proved a sound replacement and at least gave Barnsley some physical presence.
Wilson will not remember his milestone match fondly, this having been the 49th game in his second spell, having been in charge for 201 matches from the time he first entered management.
It must have been particularly disappointing to come against a Scunthorpe side led by former Oakwell chief Mark Robins, who also played under Wilson at Bristol City over a decade ago and who has tasted just one defeat in his seven games in charge, lifting them up to 21st, just three points adrift of the Reds.
However, tomorrow’s derby gives Wilson’s side the ideal opportunity to bounce back and he says: “Throughout the side, there is a whole lot more to come – I hope that was a one-off. Let’s hope everyone is fired up and I shouldn’t think any motivation is needed from me.”
Barnsley: Turnbull, Cranie, Ramage (M’Voto 52), Nyatanga, Dudgeon; Berry, Bailey (Treacy 66), Hourihane; Cole, Trotta, Winnall (Hammings 22). Unused substitutes: Davies, Brown, Abbott, Lita.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Hawkridge, Davey, Llera, M Williams; Bishop, O’Neil; Madden, L Williams, McSheffrey (McAllister 72); Taylor (Kee 83). Unused substitutes: Olejnik, Sparrow, Myrie-Williams, Adelakun, Brisley.
Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).