Football isn’t just about skill or physical ability; mental strength and decision making also play a big part, and Reds fans can moan all they want about the referee’s performance but I’m afraid our defeat against Sheffield Wednesday was purely a result of our own downfall.
Big moments in big games require big personalities and unfortunately the travelling fans, in my opinion at least, were let down by individual frailties.
First of all, I know we have signed Emmanuel Frimpong on a permanent deal but for me he shouldn’t be allowed to wear a red shirt again. There is obviously a reason why Arsene Wenger let him go and he showed that on Saturday.
New club, straight in for a debut, you can forgive him for wanting to impress, however his professionalism wasn’t evident.
He was warned after a couple of early fouls, he didn’t listen and then he was booked. In my opinion the challenge he was booked for didn’t warrant a yellow but I think he was cautioned for persistent fouling. Fair enough.
His second yellow card was nothing short of disgraceful – having already been booked, he decided to go through the back of someone and leave us with 10 men just half hour in.
I am sorry but that type of play only belongs on the Sunday League pitch for me and we don’t want it at Barnsley; we are not that type of team.
A lot has been said about the refereeing decisions but I think the sending off was correct in the light of things, as was Jermaine Johnson’s dismissal. Any player going in high and showing studs should be shown a straight red.
I am not going to criticise the Reds’ overall performance, though, because even with a man down we defended superbly. We looked a lot more solid and committed which is the most pleasing thing about it, however another moment of madness tipped the scales against us.
Jacob Mellis, I think, really let himself, his team-mates and his fans down when he lunged in two-footed after not being awarded a penalty. After viewing a replay, the midfielder went down way too easy and played for the spot-kick. He was not brought down and his reaction to that was just stupid and hypocritical.
A professional footballer has to keep their head in a game like this, and to dive in recklessly and put us a man down again was in my book ridiculous, especially when he made it clear to Johnson that he wasn’t happy with his tackle on Brek Shea just minutes earlier.
Frimpong was playing his first game for us and was over-eager but Mellis should know better having been through everything he has with us so far. Danny Wilson should reprimand him in some way.
The man in black also waved away a penalty appeal for the Owls, which again was a blatant dive. FIVE big calls and FIVE correct decisions in my opinion. I am usually first to get on the referees’ backs; I just feel that this time he came good on the important calls.
As for the goal, it was a silly decision by our player which gave the opportunity to the opposition. The first rule any coach teaches you as a kid is to not pass across your own goal and although Jim O’Brien didn’t exactly try to pass in front of our net he did attempt to clear the ball where there was danger.
In the 97th minute if you have the ball and a least a point in the bag lump it up the wing and into the corner. To try and find a red shirt in a packed midfield area when we only have nine men was a huge mistake. It was only a mistake and I know Jim feels passionate whenever he makes errors and will do his best to make up for it, but unfortunately it cost us dearly.
The goal was a superb strike but it should and could have been avoided. A great point at our biggest rivals turned into nothing – the story of our season so far.
Danny has brought in new personnel and it is down to him to lift the players’ spirits and put this result behind us. I am confident he will do that and that we will see better attitudes next Saturday.
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