Analysis of Barnsley's injury-time loss at Coventry City on Saturday, which left them nine points from safety at the bottom of the Championship.


The previous two times Barnsley won league games this season, their next performances were very disappointing, starting 13-game winless runs.

After beating Coventry at home in August, Markus Schopp’s side then lost to Luton Town at home while their November win over Derby under Jo Laumann was followed by a terrible performance in a home loss to Hull City.

Poya Asbaghi’s side could not afford to follow up the shock win over QPR with a poor display but did exactly that at the CBS Arena on Saturday.

It was not a good game but Coventry were on top throughout, with Barnsley extremely poor in attack and midfield while they undid 92 minutes of gutsy defensive work - especially by the superb Michal Helik - with a horrendous late error by substitute Jasper Moon.

Asbaghi’s substitutions and generally defensive approach cost his side when they should have looked to build momentum after a rare win and free week on the training pitch.

When Barnsley trudged off the pitch at the end, clapping their understandably small away following, it was a huge contrast to the scenes in the reverse fixture six months earlier when fans returned to Oakwell in full numbers for the first time in 525 days and celebrated a win. That was never built upon and neither was, in this game at least, the victory over QPR.

One win each in summer, autumn and winter won’t get you anywhere near safety.


Regardless of the late goal, 0-0 in this game would not have been a good result.

The Reds could have made a lot out of a second successive clean sheet, a gutsy defensive display and four points from six. But they need wins in their current situation and any time they do not get one is a failure - especially against a mid-table side on poor form who did not play particularly well.

Not winning also gives the teams around them the chance to increase the gap to safety which Reading took by winning at Preston to leave Barnsley nine points adrift. That feels unassailable so their 27-game wait for a victory in Coventry since 1923 is likely to stretch to a century as they will not, barring a miracle, be playing in the same division next season.

Asbaghi said he would have taken 0-0 every day of the week, but that is far too defensive a mindset for a manager who must surely record victories in the majority of the remaining games this season.

It was reminiscent of Keith Hill’s comments about playing for 0-0 at the same stadium a decade ago, the last time the Reds lost seven away games in a row.

It is infuriating to watch a side so desperate for wins threatening their opponents so little. That may be partly down to a lack of quality, but their gameplan was also far too negative.


Born and bred in Coventry, this should have been a proud day for Moon to play in his home city as a professional footballer.

But the 21-year-old miskicked a poor Ben Sheaf pass after a corner was cleared and the ball ran though to Dom Hyam to tap in from close range. It is hard not to feel sorry for Moon who has had a harrowing first full season in professional football, with his confidence surely taking a battering at a key time in his development. Academy manager Bobby Hassell said earlier in the season that he has played far more than he ideally would have. He has been a victim of the club's mismanagement this season.

Asbaghi bizarrely chose to bring on Moon late on, when Callum Brittain was exhausted on his return from injury.

That disrupted the back three, his strongest area, while he could have introduced a more attacking player, or a more experienced centre-back in Aapo Halme.


Barnsley had no shots on target.

The Reds, not for the first time in the last month with their season hanging in the balance, looked as though they had no real attacking intent or quality especially in a deeply disappointing second half.

On most of the rare occasions they were on the attack, they looked boring, timid, predictable and toothless. In short, nowhere near a Championship attack.

Barnsley's only chance saw Michal Helik head a Callum Styles corner well side in the 29th minute. Domingos Quina blazed a 30-yard free-kick well over five minutes later. That is a pathetically small list of chances.

Coventry - managed by former Reds boss Mark Robins - had made a long midweek trip to Cardiff, losing 2-0, while Barnsley had a rare full week on the training ground.

But it was the visitors who had nothing left after the break, in an attacking sense.


Burnley’s win at Brighton meant that Barnsley are the only side in the top four tiers of English football who have not won away this season.

You have to look to the bottom of the National League to find another side without an away win in Dover Athletic.

The Reds’ away form has fallen off a cliff as they now have four points from 16 away games this season, and one from the last 12.

Coventry’s chant of ‘Barnsley get battered everywhere they go’, is not true as most of their defeats have been narrow, but they certainly get beaten nearly everywhere.

Last time visited the Sky Blues, at St Andrew’s in April, they had won six in a row away, a club record.

Now they are winless in 20 away games. It is a sad decline for a club who look destined for the third tier.