Barnsley 0 Bournemouth 4 - Tykes defeat shows power of ‘parachute clubs’
Bournemouth are top of the tree, with Norwich City and Watford second and third. All were relegated from last season’s Premier League and have the financial comfort blanket that comes with it.
Barnsley do not, and were architects of their own downfall in a sobering 4-0 defeat.
It was put to Valerien Ismael as he settled into his seat for his post-match press conference that it had been “a difficult game.”
“Exactly,” he replied, “like the weather.”
The Reds lacked the two vital ingredients their coach has been calling for in recent days – “killer instinct” at one end of the field and cutting out the mistakes at the other. Those make the difference between a good team and a very good team. They usually cost money.
Bournemouth had not enjoyed their last two trips to South Yorkshire, taking a solitary point from Rotherham and Sheffield, but in the driving rain of a cold Oakwell night, they pounced on Barnsley mistakes and drove home their advantage.
They looked like a top-of-the-table side and Barnsley looked a mid-table side. And let us not forget, that represents progress for the Reds.
“We made mistakes and they destroyed our game, destroyed our chance to win the game,” complained Ismael.
“We have to analyse the game but not be over-critical. It’s a normal process.
“If you look at the table this is our position. To reach the next step we have to improve.”
There was a time at 1-0 when Barnsley had hung in the game despite Philip Billing’s early opener and were starting to threaten the visiting goal with Alex Mowatt and Herbie Kane bringing their passing prowess to the party. But they failed to score and when Michal Helik dwelt in possession, Dominic Solanke scored a second goal with the final touch before half-time.
The final goal showed how things unravelled.
Instead of picking out Michael Sollbauer with a pass, Kane found Sam Surridge and although goalkeeper Jack Walton got his hands to the shot, his wrists were not strong enough to keep the ball out of the net.
The match had turned into what it threatened to be in the opening stages.
Yorkshire football fans do not need reminding of the qualities the likes of David Brooks, Lewis Cook and Billing bring, and when right wing-back Adam Smith laid the ball off to Billing in the 12th minute, his precise shot left Walton no chance.
The Cherries ought to have been ahead after about 95 seconds, Walton sprinting off his line and screaming for Helik to leave the ball to him. The Pole did, but Surridge did not and even from his tight angle should not have rolled the ball wide of the empty net.
But when Barnsley had their spell a Mowatt ball went through Victor Adeboyejo and although his next found Conor Chaplin there was no one sprinting onto the forward’s reverse pass.
“It’s the same music for the last two or three games,” said Ismael.
“The good thing is we are creating a lot of attempts. We are on the right way but we have to get our reward.”
Former Liverpool and Chelsea youngster Solanke showed how.
For the third goal early in the second half, Walton wrongly assumed as many did that Diego Rico would cross his free-kick and left the near post open for him to thrash into – and that Kane would do his job as the wall. Ismael responded with a triple substitution, then soon a fourth.
Mads Anderson was fortunate only to receive a yellow card for a 76th-minute tackle but by then it was just about preserving energy for the battles to come.
Three games in six days have been brutal, though every Championship club is having to endure similar.
In that context, five days until Wycombe Wanderers’ visit feels like an extended holiday, for brains as much as bodies.
“I am happy we have enough time to recover and get fresher heads,” said the coach.
“Against Birmingham and Blackburn we were fresher in our pressing, we created a lot of two-v-one situations, three-v-two that we wanted but in a lot of situations we didn’t win the ball (against Bournemouth). Tiredness played a role.”
A fresh Barnsley against newly-promoted Wycombe is a far fairer fight than taking on one of the Championship’s parachute regiments with heavy legs.
Barnsley: Walton; Sollbauer, Helik (Halme 64), Andersen; Brittain, Mowatt, Kane (Palmer 82), Styles (Odour 58); Adeboyejo (Thomas 58), Woodrow, Chaplin (Frieser 58). Unused substitutes: Schmidt, Miller, James, Collins.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Mepham, S Cook, Kelly; Rico, Brooks (Gosling 72), L Cook (Riquelme 81), Billing (Ofoborh 89), Smith (Kilkenny 89); Solanke (Anthony 72), Surridge. Unused substitutes: Stanislas, Travers, Simpson, Zemura.
Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).
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