The Reds huffed and puffed through another 90 minutes before coming away with the 3 points against Danny Wilson’s basement boys.
Quite frankly the only reason Barnsley got the three points from this encounter was because the MK Dons are an extremely limited side and it was quite evident why they are currently propping up the rest of League One ( and there is every chance they still will be come May)
Reds boss Andy Ritchie again rang the changes after the pathetic 2-0 cup defeat to Walsall in midweek. Marc Richards, Jacob Burns and Stephen McPhail came in for Tommy Wright, Richard Kell and Brian Howard. Good decisions overall.
The first half was another extremely dull affair only lit up when on 24 minutes David Partridge clearly punched the ball out under pressure from Richards in the area, but amazingly both the referee and linesman dismissed it. This riled the players, fans and clearly the management as a couple of minutes later the ball went out of play near the dugout and Ritchie grabbed the ball before violently bouncing it into the ground. Now all the ball did was bounce in the air, it didn’t fly to the other end of the pitch or anything. A warning to calm down would have been sufficient. But poor referee Paul Armstrong ordered Ritchie to the stands.
That was all the drama that an undesirable first half produced but for one snap-shot from Richards after 37 minutes which Don’s keeper Ricardo Baptiste pushed aside.
The second half was only slightly and I mean only slightly better.
Nick Colgan nearly gifted The Dons the lead after 64 minutes. He collected the ball and tried to nip around Dons giant striker Clive Platt, predictably he was disposed, but Colgan shadowed him all the way and when he finally hit the ball towards goal it was a pretty poor shot and Reid was back to clear off the line.
The Reds did the get the lead though after 77minutes to more relief than joy from the Oakwell faithful.
It came when the Dons were just starting to get on top.
Marc Richards who most fans myself included had wanted subbing 10 minutes who broke the deadlock. ( It was Hayes who did make way to chants of you don’t know what your doing from fans towards the bench)
They obviously did.
Martin Devaney, who had been anonymous thus far, twisted and turned down the right before playing the ball towards Richards. And from an almost impossible angle with his back to goal he turned and flicked the ball into the far corner.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Dons and 2minutes later it was 2-0.
The Dons defence failed to clear McPhail’s corner and it ended up at the feet of Bobby Hassell just inside the area. He let ripped with a great strike that flew past Baptiste and in.
The Dons could have sneaked a consolation at the end.
Substitute Aaron Wilbraham connected with a header than Colgan managed to just scoop away ( from what I thought was over the line) the ball came back out to Wilbraham and from two yards Colgan flung himself at the ball to make a great block.
To be honest if this had been a team like Swansea or Colchester who we had been playing today we would most likely have been well beaten. Only the lack of ability from The Mk Dons allowed the Reds to sneak the win.
It’s taken us back into the top 6 but performances MUST improve if we are still to be there in May. Still not a bad way to spend my birthday!
Nick Colgan: Apart from his little woopsy in the second half that Platt should really have punished he was fairly untroubled, apart from the stunning double save he made at the end. 7
Bobby Hassell: Solid again, tackling was spot on and got forward whenever possible. 7
Paul Reid: Formed another formidable partnership with Carbon. Strong in the air and on the ground. 8
Matt Carbon: Won every header I can remember, was absolutely immense again, if he could only stay injury free we would have a defence capable of pushing towards the top . 9
Neil Austin: Did pick up a needles booking that will now see him suspended but he was his all-action self. Booked. 6
Chris Shuker: Another stinker from Shukes, failed to beat his man Lewington all game and even though the efforts there the form has dispersed. It was no coincidence that after Howard replaced him, Devaney seemed to flourish and the team looked better. Subbed. 4
Jacob Burns: 100% again, should be running away with the Player of the Year. Booked. 8
Stephen McPhail: Had a couple of his dodgy moments but overall got stuck in where he needed to and his corner caused havoc for the second goal. 7
Martin Devaney: Fairly anonymous until switched to the right after Shuker’s departure, baffled why the sponsors named him Man of the Match. 5
Paul Hayes: Looked Barnsley’s best hope of a goal and it was a big shock when he was subbed. It WAS a coincidence that the Reds scored when he departed. Subbed. 7
Marc Richards: I have been his biggest critic in recent weeks but today he did seem to put himself about abit. Didn’t look like getting anywhere near a goal until he actually did score out of nothing. Subbed. 6
Daniel Nardiello ( for Hayes 64) Looked quite lively when he came on and actually TRACKED BACK. 7
Brian Howard ( for Shuker 74) Was only on 3 minutes before the deadlock was broken. He made more of an impact than Shukes. 7
Tommy Wright ( for Richards 84) Very nearly got his toe onto a Nardiello ball near the end but will probably need more than a few minutes a game to grab his first goal. 6
Unused: Scott Flinders, Nicky Wroe
Sponsors Man of The Match: Martin Devaney
Barnsley Boy’s Man of The Match: Quite baffled about the Devaney choice, for me Burns, Reid and Hayes stood out but above Matt Carbon gets my nod once again.
Coca Cola League One Results Saturday 21ST January 2006
Barnsley 2-0 Milton Keynes Dons
Blackpool 1-1 Bristol City
Brentford 2-0 Huddersfield
Chesterfield 2-2 Walsall
Colchester 2-1 Port Vale
Oldham 2-0 Gillingham
Rotherham 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Scunthorpe 1-2 Doncaster
Swansea 1-1 Hartlepool
Swindon 4-2 Bournemouth
Tranmere 0-0 Southend
Yeovil 0-1 Bradford
Barnsley lie in 6th place in League One with 45 points from 28 games. We are in the Play-Offs by 1 point, 6 points off the Automatic Promotion Places and 16 points clear of the Relegation Zone.
On The Road: Nottingham Forest v Barnsley Friday 27th January 2006 Kick-Off 7:45pm
Tickets: Adults: 20.00 Over 60s 15.00 Students 10.00 U18s 10.00 U12s 5.00
Coach Tickets: 9.00 The coach leaves Oakwell 5pm on the day of the game.
Note: This game is also live on Sky Sports 1! Programme starts at 7:30pm
At Oakwell: Barnsley v Bristol City Saturday 4th February 2006 Kick Off 3pm
This is a Category B Match