Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Twenty Eight: Barnsley 0-1 Preston North End.

The woeful Simon Davey reign continued with another defeat- another home defeat to leave The Reds 4 points adrift of safety.

When Chairman Gordon Shepherd appointed Davey as successor to Andy Ritchie he said it was because Davey had achieved a better points per game average.

Well when Ritchie was dismissed Barnsley although 23rd were just a point off safety.

Now although lying 22nd the gap has increased by another 3 points.

That means Barnsley will need to win at least 2 games without Hull winning and at the moment 1 victory looks beyond this squad.

Preston goal-keeper Carlo Nash will probably not have an easier afternoon this season as he wasn't tested AT ALL during the 90 minutes whilst it was thanks to his opposite number Nick Colgan that Preston didn't record a landslide victory.

As one caller to Radio Sheffield put it, "It was a 1-0 thrashing"

My comments may seem harsh when you consider Preston are sat 3rd in the Championship and well in the automatic promotion race, but they were hardly sparkling at Oakwell. They didn't need to be.

Premiership Sheffield United had a £6m bid for star striker David Nugent turned down this week, but just like at Deepdale back in September he failed to justify that price tag.

Barnsley started two of their January recruits, Manchester United loanee left back Adam Eckersley and £50,000 capture from Bury, Dwayne Mattis. Fellow recruits Grant McCann and David Lucas were on the bench.

Eckersley, after a particularly shaky start looked promising in the left-back role-certainly better than Paul Heckingbottom- but the jury remains well and truly out on Mattis.

The rise from League Two to the Championship isn't easy so his debut may just have been a bit of a cultural shock, but he looked distinctly like a fish that had been suddenly plucked from the water.

Although his height gave him an advantage in the air (something we have been missing) his touch and passing were pretty poor. Players are afforded a lot more time on the ball in League Two, in the Championship you get nothing. Mattis will have to learn that quick if he is to be a success.

The Reds created one mere chance in the entire first 45 minutes and it came on 23minutes.

A long punt up field from Colgan deceived the otherwise comfortable Preston defence and Hayes' deft lob eluded Nash but bounced onto the top of the crossbar and over.

The game was always likely to be settled by one goal and once Preston claimed it on 55 minutes it was more or less game over.

Colgan's reluctance to leave his line proved fatal as Liam Chilvers, who won promotion along with Barnsley last season playing for Colchester, headed Paul McKenna's corner over Togwell and in off the far post.

From then on Preston controlled the game and would have had more if Colgan hadn't come to the rescue.

The best The Reds could muster was a meek toe-poke from Nardiello that looked as if it was going wide but just clipped the post on its way.

The only real enthusiasm shown from the 11 "men" in red came once the fourth officials board had announced 4 minutes of added time. By then though it was far too late.

Unless Davey can drastically change things at Oakwell, it could also be far too late to save Barnsley Football Club from another few years of League One wilderness.

The pressure's on Simon.

Player Ratings:

Nick Colgan: Again reluctance to leave his line left the defence jittery but if it wasn't for a string of fine saves, Barnsley would have been dead and buried. 7

Adam Eckersley: Started off fairly shaky but hadn't played English football for 2years so was understandable. Matured as the game went on and was the only member of the Reds defence that wanted to bring the ball out of defence. 7

Paul Reid ©: As every game goes by he looks increasingly uncomfortable at Championship level. The fact he has only played in one of Barnsley's 4 clean sheets this season says a lot. 5

Robert Atkinson: Again impressed and was fully committed to the cause, unlike many of his team-mates. 7

Bobby Hassell: Still say central defence is his strongest position but still played well and he made some vital blocks to keep The Reds somewhat in the game. Booked. 8

Sam Togwell: Has little to no impact as a central midfielder these days. No pace and put on the right wing. Ingenious Simon mate…. Subbed. 5

Brian Howard: The one player who had a touch of class and tried to get The Reds attacking. If rumors are to be believed he won't be here much longer and then we really will be doomed. Booked. 8

Dwayne Mattis: Refuse to fully judge him on a debut alone but today looked like he had been in League Two the past 2 years. 5

Kyel Reid: Normally a right winger but Davey put him on the left. Quiet first half, a little more lively in the second period. 6

Daniel Nardiello: His selfishness robbed Barnsley of some good chances. Must never be allowed to take a corner again though surely! Booked (Very harshly!) 6

Paul Hayes: As the weeks go by he looks more and more bored by the game of football. Lost possession time and time again. The biggest cheer arrived when he was withdrawn. Subbed. 4

Substitutes:

Michael Coulson (for Hayes 64) Buoyed by his goal at Southend the previous weekend he showed a lot of promise on his arrival, and put in 10 times the effort Hayes did. 7

Grant McCann (for Togwell 73) Should really have started today and his calmness on arrival proved that. 7

Unused Substitutes:

Antony Kay, Paul Heckingbottom, David Lucas

Sponsors Man of the Match: Bobby Hassell

BarnsleyBoy's Man of the Match: Hassell played well as did Atkinson and Eckersley but because he was the only player trying to make something happen out there the once again outstanding Brian Howard gets my vote.

Most Impressed by Preston's: Liam Chilvers impressed throughout and got the goal he deserved.

Ref Watch: Phil Joslin: Not the worst we have had but was duped by a lot of diving. 5

Coca-Cola Championship results Saturday 13th January 2007:

Barnsley 0-1 Preston

Cardiff 0-1 Southend

Colchester 1-1 Leicester

Coventry 2-4 Crystal Palace

Derby 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Hull 2-1 QPR

Norwich 1-3 Plymouth

Southampton 0-0 Burnley

Stoke 1-1 Wolves

Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich

Friday 12th January 2007:

West Brom 3-2 Luton

Barnsley lie in 22nd place in the Coca Cola Championship with 26 points from 28 games. We are 18 points off the Play-Offs, 27 points off the Automatic Promotion Places, 27 points off First Place and 4 points adrift of safety.

Next Up:

At Oakwell:

FA Cup Sponsored by E-on Third Round Replay Barnsley v Southend United Tuesday 16th January 2007 Kick-Off 7:45pm.

Tickets:

Adults - £15.00

Senior Citizens - £10.00

Juveniles (Under 16) - £10.00

Juveniles (Under 11) - £6.00

On The Road:

Coca Cola Championship Matchday Twenty Nine: Luton Town v Barnsley Saturday 20th January 2007 Kick Off 3pm

Tickets for the game at Kenilworth Road are priced at:

Adults - £21.50

Senior Citizens - £14.00

Students (with valid NUS) - £14.00

Juveniles (Under 16) - £14.00


Official Reds On The Road coaches will be making the trip to Luton.

Tickets: £15

Coaches will depart Oakwell at 10:45am on the day of the game.

Man of the Match: Brian Howard