I attended the Reds’ Capital One Cup clash with Scunthorpe having witnessed the 4-0 defeat to Wigan and I must say things can only get better.
Dave Flitcroft’s view of the game is that Barnsley dominated and the players’ energy was superb with some impressive individual performances. Now I’m sorry, I do like Flicker but I have to completely and utterly disagree with him this time.
If he thinks we played well against a League Two side who failed to register a shot on target until the final few moments then that is the kind of mentality which will be our downfall this season. For the second game running we fielded the same team with one exception and for the second game running we failed to score, this time though not only in 90 minutes but in 120 taking our season’s tally to 210 minutes plus injury time without finding the net. This to me is a real concern.
Chris O’Grady always puts a great shift in and again looked brilliant at holding the ball up but, as on Saturday his strike partner was just not up to scratch nor the midfielders behind him. The Gaffer did recognise the weakness and brought on Jason Scotland early in the second half, which admittedly did give us more urgency, however despite several attempts the substitute along with O’Grady and Dagnall just kept misfiring.
With substitutes and so forth we used three different formations through the course of the game and although it didn’t cost us against minnow opponents we need to establish our best tactic and settle with it rapidly before we get too far behind the pack in the league. I believe Flicker also needs to change his midfield, I said to my friend at the game that we should play someone else ahead of either Dawson or Perkins. Both are good at their jobs on their day but I just feel that to be a creative, impact team we need one or the other playing and not both with Mellis and the likes of Etuhu or Cywka alongside them. Please feel free to argue or agree with me on this one folks.
All in all the game was extremely poor but I thought on a positive note that Jim O’Brien – the only change to the starting line-up – had a fantastic game. His energy and relentless running back and forward along with his accurate crossing was deserving of his man of the match accolade and it will be interesting to see if he cements his place against Blackpool on Saturday.
As for the result, we are through to the second round however which way we did it, although I have to say after a dull and dire 120 minutes of football the penalty shoot-out was rather entertaining, one team missing then the other, for a total of nine penalties each. Luke Steele had the chance to be the hero saving a Scunthorpe penalty and taking the spot-kick to win it, however he rattled the post, then after another Scunny miss O’Brien only had to score but smashed the cross-bar until finally O’Grady, who for me should never be number nine to take a penalty, scored the decider at around 10.30pm putting a satisfying end to a long, long night indeed.
I do worry about the goals. The defence I believe will hold their own but up front we need some serious firepower and not just hard labourers if we are going to avoid struggling this season, so please Flicker get someone in soon and in the meantime why not give John Cofie a run out.
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