Analysis of Barnsley's 2-1 loss at Bristol City, in which they took the lead but suffered a seventh successive defeatMASSIVE MISSED OPPORTUNITY AGAINST STRUGGLING ROBINS Barnsley’s manager’s win percentage after a third of the season is lower than the number of successive defeats.
That is a sorry indictment of a terrible campaign, so far, which got even worse with Saturday’s seventh successive loss that left them second-bottom and winless in 13.
The performance overall from Barnsley was one of the best of the season, playing good football and creating plenty of chances. There were encouraging individual displays from the likes of Jordan Williams, scorer Aaron Leya Iseka and half-time substitute Josh Benson.
But, after this awful start to the season, it is only about results and 85 good minutes are worthless if you lose the game in the other five.
Slack defending and poor finishing cost them the points that their performance warranted.
It could certainly be argued that the main reason Barnsley had so many chances was that they were up against one of the weakest teams in the Championship, certainly at home.
Bristol City looked a poor outfit as they nervously scraped to a first home win of the season.
It was as winnable game as the Reds will get at the moment and a huge missed opportunity.
POOR FIVE MINUTES CHANGE THE GAME Barnsley dominated the first 40 minutes, creating chances as well as scoring their goal, and were turning the home fans against a side who had not won in 17 games at Ashton Gate across 276 days since January.
They then conceded a poor goal totally against the run of play.
It was clearly disappointing but, at that moment, they needed the senior players in the team to instil the mantra of making sure that the score remained 1-1 at the break and they were in the game for the second half.
But, five minutes later , having seen Brad Collins deny ex-Red Matty James with a good save, they were carved open again for a very similar goal to the first.
That totally changed the game and - with some help from more bad Barnsley finishing - the Robins were able to see out a narrow win with their crowd behind them.
A side that had scored four goals in seven home games this season, netted two in five minutes.
It is those capitulations and lack of game management that have cost the Reds time and again this season.
Both home goals saw decent interplay by the hosts before passes behind the high Reds defence created a simple chance that was taken ruthlessly by Andreas Weimann.
Barnsley’s defence was cut open far too easily in that spell, as they were in the previous games against Middlesbrough and Sheffield United.
The back line was ragged - Callum Brittain played Weimann onside for the opening goal - while they were not given enough protection by those in front of them.
WEIMANN SHOWS REDS HOW TO BE CLINICAL The Reds created more clear cut chances than they have in almost every match this season.
Home goalkeeper Daniel Bentley made a fine save from Jordan Williams, who had the most shots from left wing-back, at 0-0 then from Brittain’s long-range shot at 1-0, while Leya Iseka took a poor touch when he should have doubled the lead.
After the break, Benson saw a point blank header kept out and a corner cleared off the line while another led to an almighty scramble with Michal Helik hitting the bar then Jasper Moon having a shot cleared off the line. Devante Cole then appeared to turn the ball over the bar two yards out in the 94th minute.
The cliche of ‘when things are not going your way they are really not going your way’ rings true and that some of the goalmouth scrambles did not lead to goals was almost unbelievable. But again the Reds’ finishing lacked accuracy and conviction.
In contrast, the hosts were much more clinical. Bristol City's front three of Nakhi Wells, Chris Martin and Andreas Weimann are all internationals and had played more Championship goals than Barnsley's 18-man squad with more than three times as many goals at that level with 222.
Weimann - who has never lost against Barnsley in nine meetings - scored twice with assists by Wells and Martin, who also cleared off the line at 2-1. Weimann’s rapid brace dealt a major blow to his fellow Austrian Schopp as the hosts cut through the Reds like a knife through strudel.
HUGE HOME GAMES AHEAD Barnsley now host the two teams who join them in the relegation zone as they welcome bottom club Derby on Wednesday and third-bottom Hull on Saturday.
Although most fans, with some justification, believe Schopp should no longer be head coach, the CEO and board appear to be backing him to get positive results in those games going into the international break. He admitted it is the biggest week of his managerial career.
They surely need at least four points, ideally six, and convincing performances, to have any real evidence for keeping him in place. It is the final international break until March and surely a good chance to make a change if required.
Derby are only bottom due to a 12-point deduction and could overtake the Reds with a midweek win. That game is probably a harder prospect than Saturday’s trip to Bristol.
Schopp made more surprising decisions on Saturday such as persisting with defender Jasper Moon in midfield while Will Hondermarck, who has impressed recently, was not in the squad.
Iseka - who had two goals in as many games - was replaced late on by Victor Adeboyejo who has none in 38, when the Reds were pushing for the equaliser.
GOOD TO HAVE MADS AND JOSH BACK, WITH INJURIES NO LONGER AN EXCUSE
Having Mads Andersen back in the starting line-up and Benson coming on at half-time was a major boost after an injury crisis which is now easing. Andersen seemed to add more stability to the team and, although he got dragged out of position for both goals, it was by good forward play and others made far worse errors.
Benson was excellent in the second half, creating regular chances with his passing and set piece delivery.
With Benson and Andersen returning from injury, and Callum Styles due to follow on Wednesday after missing this game with a slight niggle, the Reds are only now missing one first team player in Carlton Morris. Almost all sides have one or more players out for most of the season so injuries are now no longer an excuse - if they ever were - for this terrible form.