Gerhard Struber quickly discovers where Barnsley are going wrong

Barnsley's Cauley Woodrow: Celebrating his goal. Picture: Keith Turner
Barnsley's Cauley Woodrow: Celebrating his goal. Picture: Keith Turner
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IT was Albert Einstein who famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

It is a quote that perfectly sums up Barnsley defenders’ reckless penchant for constantly trying to play their way out of trouble in their own 18-yard area – and in continuing to switch off from their back-four duties at fateful moments in football matches.

All three goals were individuals errors and we have got to cut that out. It is just killing us.

Ben Williams

Either way, you get punished at Championship level – and how.

As you do if your recruitment policy precludes the need to bring in experience – that word again – when Barnsley’s need for some seniority in defence has stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb since late August.

A new leader of the band was in town on Saturday in Gerhard Struber. But it was the same old song in a game which represented a microcosm of Barnsley’s achingly irritating season.

Going forward, Barnsley’s bubbly show was not that of a side propping up the Championship and had plenty to enthuse about.

Defensively, it was a different and oh-so-familiar story. The Reds conceded three goals and all the wounds were pretty much self-inflicted.

It gave a flattering win to a poor Rovers side who gleefully seized upon three gift-wrapped moments from a naive Reds’ line-up.

Tony Mowbray celebrated his 56th birthday on Friday and here were some belated presents.

Like several other rival managers before him, Rovers chief Mowbray spoke about Barnsley’s offensive qualities after the game.

As with others, he did so with three points in the bank and it is easy to be magnanimous when you have won.

That Blackburn did so was largely down to the presence of Danny Graham and Stuart Downing– two old-stagers who came on and made a telling difference for Rovers in their hour of need.

Barnsley, by contrast, were left to reflect on failing to win despite scoring two league goals in a Championship game for the sixth time this season.

Frustration is a word which does not come close. The Oakwell outfit have conceded 36 goals in 17 league matches this term and are on course to ship around a catastrophic century of goals in 2019-20 if things do not significantly improve and, more specifically, new senior options are not recruited in January.

With pain etched upon his face after the game, Ben Williams, the sort of young defender who would come on further if he played alongside a couple of Championship-ready central defenders, said: “I left everything out there and it was just bitterly frustrating.

“It is the basics and we have to know the areas to play in and the ones not to. That is just basics; you get taught that as a kid. If we can cut those (errors) out, we will be a massively better team.

“The new gaffer has come in and it has been a bit of a breath of fresh air. We came out of this game with so much credit. We had the (post-match) meeting with the gaffer and we battered them in the whole game and were miles the better team.

“But all three goals were individuals errors and we have got to cut that out. It is just killing us.”

The tone was set on 25 minutes when the recalled Mads Andersen produced a sloppy pass that put Barnsley into a heap of bother with Lewis Travis quickly finding ex-Reds loanee Adam Armstrong and he picked out Bradley Dack for a tap-in with the visitors undressed in an instant.

It undid Barnsley’s earlier good work with their best moment coming when Cauley Woodrow’s drive was parried by Walton.

Struber played a key interval card when he brought on Conor Chaplin for Patrick Schmidt, unconvincing on his first start, and it yielded instant reward.

A flowing move saw Jacob Brown slot in the substitute, whose finish was crisp and clinical. It was a precursor to the drama to come.

An open spectacle saw Barnsley, with the introduction of Kenny Dougall also making a difference, go close through Brown, although the Reds also suffered a scare when Joe Rothwell almost cashed in on Sami Radlinger’s weak clearance.

Charity then arrived when Rovers profited from an error in possession from Woodrow.

After Toby Sibbick blocked Rothwell’s drive, the loose ball fell kindly to Downing, who drilled home his first goal for Rovers.

Creditably, Barnsley responded with persistence from Chaplin enabling Woodrow to bundle in a leveller with his midriff.

Yet all the while, you worried about matters at the other end and true to form, Barnsley erred.

Darragh Lenighan won the air miles to Downing’s free-kick and Dack, in splendid isolation, netted at the second attempt after Radlinger parried his first effort.

Welcome to England, Herr Struber – and welcome to Barnsley.

Blackburn Rovers: Walton; Bennett, Lenighan, Adarabioyo, Bell; Travis, Holtby (Downing 63); Gallagher (Graham 63), Dack, Rothwell (Buckley 79); Armstrong. Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Johnson, Brereton, Evans.

Barnsley: Radlinger; Sibbick, Diaby, Andersen, B Williams; Halme (Dougall 45), Bahre (Thomas 83), Mowatt; Woodrow, Brown, Schmidt (Chaplin 45). Unused substitutes: Collins, McGeehan, Cavare, Thiam.

Referee: D Whitestone (Northants).