BARNSLEY may have scored a rare goal, but it was their deficiencies in defence that were on full display as they collapsed to a 3-1 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest.
Head coach Markus Schopp spoke pre-match of his side needing to be more decisive up front, and there certainly were signs the message had been heard in the first 45 minutes.
But Forest, under new boss Steve Cooper – whose Swansea City side denied the Reds play-off semi-final success last season – cut the lines of communication in a dominant second half display.
The Reds, now winless in eight, scored for the first time in three matches, their first goal at home since August 28 and only their seventh in ten league games.
Cauley Woodrow both won and scored the 20th-minute penalty, his third goal of the current campaign.
The striker collected the ball to the right of goal and wrestled free of Tobias Figueiredo before going to ground, Callum Brittain finding him with a smart outside-of-the-foot pass.
Following the goal, the home side were happy to slow the game down at all opportunities, playing long balls and giving away minor fouls around the halfway line.
Romal Palmer went into several challenges aggressively before being booked just after the half-hour mark for a wild lunge on Ryan Yates.
He may have been reacting to a tough challenge on Michal Helik who moments earlier went down after being caught just inside the opponents’ half and required treatment.
The visitors looked a threat on the counter, with Djed Spence being released a number of times down the right.
Spence forced an impressive sliding block from Liam Kitching, and also found James Garner who tried a tame effort from 20 yards which Brad Collins easily collected.
Joe Lolley also sent an effort wide of the far post as he broke following a loose ball from Callum Styles to Palmer on 32 minutes.
The Reds rode their luck early on, with a loose back-heel from the otherwise impressive Jasper Moon forcing Kitching to recover and clear the ball for a corner, and minutes later Collins playing a poor ball out and nearly being caught off his line by Lolley from range.
But they controlled the first half by and large, particularly through some tidy play on the left amongst Jordan Williams – who played well in a left wing-back berth as a late addition to the lineup for Josh Benson – Styles and Clarke Oduor.
Woodrow had the first real chance of the second half on 50 minutes, a Callum Brittain ball in from the right nodded into the middle by Styles then finding Woodrow who turned and forced an improvised save from Brice Samba in the Forest goal.
Kitching produced another vital sliding challenge to deny Brennan Johnson after he latched on to a headed pass from Max Lowe and went one-on-one with Collins a minute later.
The Reds continued to have their goal peppered, Collins needing to get down rapidly to stop Zinckernagel’s effort from close range a couple of minutes before the hour mark.
Lewis Grabban’s introduction for Figueiredo saw the side move into a 4-3-3 which immediately began hurting the Reds and would eventually lead to the goal.
A series of Reds mistakes didn’t help as Dominik Frieser lost the ball and then Lewis Grabban was unsuccessfully challenged by Michal Helik in the centre circle, letting the forward play Johnson in.
Johnson, now on the right, had an easy task to find Zinckernagel who tapped into an empty net.
Johnson turned goalscorer and Zinckernagel provider seven minutes later, Johnson again breaking down the right but this time slotting home.
It was a ball that was on repeatedly for the visitors, and if not for some fine Kitching defending and Collins goalkeeping both Johnson and Zinckernagel could’ve found a third.
It seemed inevitable that Forest, now smelling blood, would get that goal.
When it came it was from substitute striker Grabban, who was on hand at the back post after some good dribbling on the left from Alexander Mighten on 82 minutes.
Collins saved a decent effort from Jack Colback four minutes later, getting down to his left.
Aaron Leya Iseka, on as a 72nd minute sub, rose to a Woodrow cross from the right and saw his header wide of the post a few minutes before the Reds were put out of their misery.