Barnsley FC boss Michael Duff left frustrated by Reds lack of intensity at Exeter City

BARNSLEY boss Michael Duff rued ‘too many individual mistakes’ after seeing his team’s impressive 12-match unbeaten run ended at Exeter City.

Jay Stansfield’s stunning solo goal put the Grecians in front, only for Bobby Thomas to level before half-time, but City stepped up a gear after the break and won with a goal from Harry Kite and Sam Nombe’s penalty.

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The result leaves the Reds in fourth place in the League One Standings, six points off second-placed Sheffield Wednesday and eight off leaders Plymouth Argyle, both of who they have beaten in recent weeks.

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“We weren’t at it tonight,” admitted Duff. “We played some nice football but not effective football. We didn’t win enough first contacts. They did to us what we have done to other teams recently.

“It is a marker that shows how far we have come that you see their reactions at the end of the game. We have been absolutely magnificent, but tonight too many individuals didn’t turn up.

“We made too many individual mistakes, too many sideways and backwards passes without really hurting them and then no real quality in the final third.

“I have got no complaints with the result, but disappointed for everyone that has travelled down here as it is a long way.

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RUN OVER: Barnsley boss, Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce RollinsonRUN OVER: Barnsley boss, Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
RUN OVER: Barnsley boss, Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“I need to see the game back again before I dissect it, but we didn’t make enough good decisions without the ball and no real intensity about what we did.”

Barnsley dominated the early exchanges, but Exeter went in front in the 26th minute when the outstanding Stansfield picked the ball up on the byline, nutmegged Jordan Williams and cut across the penalty box before curling a brilliant finish beyond Harvey Isted.

However, Exeter’s lead lasted 11 minutes as a Luca Connell free-kick drifted across the penalty box and was turned in by BThomas from six yards.

Exeter restored their lead on 50 minutes and it was after more excellent work by Stansfield, who collected the ball wide on the left, beat his man with ease and crossed for Kite to convert from six yards.

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Jamal Blackman saved well to deny Slobodan Tedic, one of four changes made by Duff midway through the second half, while Exeter’s Archie Collins twice had good chances to extend the Grecians’ lead.

However, Exeter completed the scoring in the 89th minute when Joe White was brought down in the box and Nombe converted the penalty for his 17th goal of the season.

Exeter City: Blackman, Sweeney, Aimson, Hartridge, Key, McDonald (Harper 78), Kite, Mitchell, A Collins, Scott (Nombe 66), Stansfield (White 82). Subs Not Used: Sparkes, Coley, Lee, Grounds.

Barnsley: Isted, B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching (Cundy 87), Williams, Phillips, Connell (Watters 64), Kane (Tedic 64), Cadden, Cole (Benson 63), Norwood (Luke Thomas 63). Subs Not Used: Larkeche, Collins.

Referee: Darren Handley (Lancashire).

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