Barnsley FC owners are not worthy of passionate Oakwell fans and triers on the pitch

THERE was some turbulence and commotion at Oakwell on Saturday, but it was nothing to do with Storm Malik.

It was the moment when sections of Barnsley’s stressed support finally went public in their exasperation and anger at events in a dishevelled and disgraceful season which has left them largely bereft of hope.

It could well be a sign of things to come in what looks like being a death march to League One.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Paul Conway and Chien Lee and members of the Pacific Media Group were not there – of course, they weren’t.

Up against it: Barnsley’s Michal Helik rises for a high ball in the crowded Bournemouth penalty area (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

If they had followed events from Oakwell, they should have been grateful for those exposed young players in red doing them a favour at the very least.

Should Bournemouth’s early opener – which ultimately proved decisive – have been the precursor to a quick-fire second goal, then this game would have become a side-show from a Barnsley perspective.

The ferocity of the fans’ chants in the Pontefract Road end directed towards Conway and co would have certainly got more prolific and punchy.

Fortunately, Barnsley’s on-pitch response, more especially in the second half, was honest and doughty.

Philip Billing heads in Bournemouths opening goal against Barnsley ( Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

It did not yield an equalising goal, but on another day, it might have done. And those Barnsley patrons who have suffered this season appreciated a trier.

There was venom in the chants against the club’s hierarchy, but the sting was taken away a little by a hearty and perhaps unexpected Barnsley response.

The club’s Supporters’ Trust, in a missive issued in the week, asked for 100 per cent effort and a ‘commitment, and determination to win’ from those in Barnsley jerseys amid an increasingly testing situation and season.

They at least got that, if not necessarily the quality. But that’s a different story. Barnsley had a dig and everyone was grateful for small mercies.

Ben Pearson and Gary Cahill close down on Aaron Leya Iseka ( Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Sadly in the final analysis, it was a game when Barnsley succumbed to their fourth successive league defeat and extended their winless sequence to 11 matches as their inexorable slide to League One continues.

Should they lose at home to another toiler in Cardiff on Wednesday – the Bluebirds tend to do rather well at Oakwell – then their position will look pretty hopeless. Even at the start of February.

Barnsley are battling on, for the time being. One of their better players on the day and someone who has consistently fronted up in his press duties to the press in Jordan Williams was heartened by the fans backing. It meant something.

There was acrimony towards the powers-that-be, for sure, but there was also an appreciation of a young, callow, struggling team’s game efforts in trying times.

Williams said: “We gave it our all, you could see that by the fans’ reaction at the end, they were clapping us off and it hasn’t been like that recently.

“We tried to go back to basics and go long at every opportunity. We are all upset that we didn’t get anything from the game, but we all still believe.”

In terms of a reaction to the limp and soulless disintegration at Nottingham Forest, it was decent, but it also conveyed some familiar issues.

Barnsley displayed a willingness, but they are toothless where it matters, sadly. Certainly at this level. On the day, they had four or five good chances, yet they could not convert one.

In the first half-hour of league games at Oakwell this season, they have scored just once from open play, a beauty from Callum Styles against Birmingham. A mere three home goals have also arrived in the second half of Championship games in 2021-22.

Styles tried his best to do something about that. He struggled in the wind, alongside many others in the first half. His reaction smacked of character; he went close on a couple of occasions and kept coming back for more and did not feel sorry for himself.

Another defeat, but some will remember the day with fondness still. Wakefield’s Matty Wolfe made his league debut and put in a decent enough shift.

Monk Bretton lad Aiden Marsh was also handed a milestone moment by way of a cherished bow.

The teen would have brought the house down if he had scored with his first touch, a first-time shot straight at Mark Travers.

The Cherries custodian earned his corn on the day. He beat out a fierce drive from Aaron Leya-Iseka in the first half and thwarted Devante Cole and Styles, twice, in the second period.

Bournemouth struck early when Philip Billing rose above Jasper Moon after Brad Collins was beaten by Dom Solanke in an ill-advised dash out of goal.

Solanke and Billing hinted at plenty and the latter could have secured rights to the match-ball at half-time, but didn’t. As the Cherries passed up opportunities, plucky Barnsley persisted.

The dismissal of Gary Cahill for two bookable offences on Cole raised the stakes late on and there was relief in the away camp at the final whistle. Relief also among Barnsley’s hierarchy on a day which could have been worse.