SEVEN senior members of the Donald Trump administration have now been fired or resigned since Barnsley last won a Championship home game.
Or 27 managers have left their posts in English football, if you prefer, since the Reds triumphed 2-0 against visiting Birmingham City way back on November 4.
Their wait for that all-elusive home win extended into a tenth match last night as Barnsley missed a golden chance to put some serious daylight between themselves and the bottom three – on another Oakwell ‘if only’ occasion.
Home form will, in all likelihood, decide the Reds’ fate this season and at the start of a key Oakwell triple-header, this did not represent the picture-perfect start even though the hosts moved three points above the relegation trap door.
An inability to display a ruthless, clinical edge and see off visiting sides has bedevilled Barnsley not just in 2017-18, but for the past season and a half with the upshot being that the Reds have won a pitiful three league games at Oakwell in the last 14 months.
Home supporters present would have been forgiven for thinking that they had witnessed a re-run, with last night’s match having followed a pattern of a plethora of others at Oakwell since early 2017.
At half-time optimism was rife, more especially with a natural-born finisher in the home ranks in talismanic striker Oli McBurnie.
The loan striker continued his love-in with the Reds’ faithful with his sixth goal in seven matches moments before the break as he celebrated his first Scotland senior call-up in fitting fashion.
But it was Canaries winger Josh Murphy who took to the stage in the second half and after levelling in the 71st minute he almost won it in stoppage-time.
A charge of being slow-starters has followed Barnsley around for large spells of this season and there was more unwelcome evidence of that last night.
A charge of being slow-starters has followed Barnsley around for large spells of this season and there was more unwelcome evidence of that last night.Leon Wobschall
After their defensively deficient weekend show at Hull City, which saw them concede four goals, the visitors responded to head coach Daniel Farke’s critcism. Obdurate and organised on the road for much of this season, Norwich were like their old selves, with Barnsley struggling to make much of an impression.
But, fatally, the visitors’ backline switched off for a split-second moments before the break and McBurnie punished them, taking his only opportunity of the half with aplomb with a priceless strike.
It arrived following Andy Yiadom’s cross from the right, with the Championship’s player of the month for February doing the rest with a crisp low shot on the turn, which went in off a post.
It transformed the Oakwell mood, which had hitherto been muted, with Norwich having looked comfortable without creating too much.
Half-chances for the Reds arrived with the recalled Brad Potts drilling a first-timer wide and Joe Williams seeing his low strike held by Angus Gunn, but it was all fairly standard.
Thanks in no small part to McBurnie, the Reds were appreciative for the timely adrenalin rush and their brio was soon apparent on the restart.
A big moment saw Gunn block Kieffer Moore’s goalbound low shot and then gather Williams’s rebound before Mamadou Thiam dragged a shot wide as the hosts pushed for a second goal.
It would not come and, despite Adam Davies having little to do on his re-introduction in the opening hour, a clear warning arrived when a brilliant long-range strike from Murphy flashed inches wide after a neat short-corner routine.
Unfortunately Barnsley never managed to mind the danger with Murphy, who looked the most likely in yellow, steering home an angled shot past Davies at his near post following James Husband’s left-wing cross.
A deflected Murphy strike was grasped by Davies late on with Grant Hanley’s key challenge denying Moore at the other end.
An open finale saw substitute Stevie Mallan fire just wide before Murphy almost nicked it during six minutes of stoppage-time after Alexander Tettey was stretchered off in the last ten minutes.
But another draw it was, Barnsley’s fifth in their last seven home outings.
There is a saying in football that the draws can kill you.
Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, Jackson, Lindsay, Fryers, Williams (Mallan 85), Gardner, Potts; Thiam (Isgrove 62), Moore, McBurnie. Substitutes unused: Townsend, Bradshaw, Moncur, Cavare, Pearson.
Norwich City: Gunn; Pinto, Hanley, Zimmermann (Hernandez 56), Klose; Vrancic, Tettey (Hoolahan 81); Watkins (Srbeny 90), Maddison, Murphy; Oliveira. Substitutes unused: McGovern, Reed, Raggett, Lewis.
Referee: S Martin (Staffs).