PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM has warned that any repeat of the “fundamental” mistakes by Barnsley that allowed Nick Powell to pull off one of the season’s greatest comebacks will lead to players being axed.
The Reds crashed to a stunning 3-2 defeat at relegation- threatened Wigan Athletic on Thursday night despite being two goals ahead as the game entered the final quarter.
An 11-minute hat-trick by former Hull City loanee Powell did the damage to deny Barnsley a victory that would have been enough to move them back into the top half of the table.
A debatable penalty decision by referee Simon Hooper was a factor in the fightback, but head coach Heckingbottom refused to use that as an excuse and, instead, pointed the finger at his players.
“All our hard work to get to 2-0 and defending well was wasted,” he said. “We were a constant threat on the counter and controlling the ball well. Then came a crazy five minutes.
“Mistakes are mistakes. You have to limit them if you want to play as high as you can. The worst things are the fundamental things that we don’t have in a Barnsley team.
The players concerned know about it and know exactly what they did wrong. If that happens, they don’t play.Barnsley manager, Paul Heckingbottom
“The players concerned know about it and know exactly what they did wrong. If that happens, they don’t play. It wasn’t game management that was wrong, just doing things that weren’t part of a Barnsley team.”
After a tame first half at the DW Stadium, the Reds had taken charge via goals from Adam Armstrong and Ryan Kent either side of the break.
It meant, when Powell came off the bench in the 66th minute, there seemed only one possible result.
Then, though, the Latics substitute got to work with two goals inside 60 seconds to level matters.
Hooper adjudging Angus MacDonald to have fouled Max Power in defending a long-throw with eight minutes remaining presented Powell with an opportunity to net a hat-trick from the spot that he accepted gleefully.
“We don’t do that,” added Heckingbottom when asked about his side’s collapse. “They wonder why I go mad about certain things. I hope they realise now. We have to take (this lesson) from the game because we couldn’t take the points.
“It can cost you when you don’t do the right things. A few had good games, but it counts for nothing. We win as a team and lose as a team.
“Things that we don’t do were evident and things we should always do weren’t evident. That is what cost us.”