Neill Collins is ‘really disappointed’ that Barnsley’s ‘winning performance’ didn’t lead to a win over Fleetwood Town in a 2-2 draw.
The Reds fell behind twice in the first half but levelled late on through Corey O’Keeffe’s header. They dropped two places to fifth in the early League One table.
Head coach Collins told the Chronicle: “I am really disappointed we didn’t win. It was a winning performance. It’s one of our most dominant performances of the season. We created a lot of chances. Fleetwood defended well and we just didn’t have the quality and ruthlessness at times. We shot ourselves in the foot with the goals we conceded.
“We could have won the game many times over. I would bite your hand off for that performance every week at home.”
Fleetwood’s first goal came from an error by Jamie McCart and the second was a stunning free-kick after Devante Cole lost the ball and Jordan Williams had to concede the free-kick.
Collins said: “The second goal, we lost it where we don’t want to lose it. The first one was a long kick up the pitch we didn’t deal with. It was just poor defending but the defence have been excellent. They were excellent for most of the game today. We didn’t look like conceding a goal again today after we conceded the free-kick.”
Barnsley netted their first equalisers at home in the league since December 2021. Collins said: “The fans should be really happy that we came from behind twice. It shows we’re building on that resilience and ability to come back. It’s just a pity last week at Leyton Orient (where they levelled in a 1-1 draw) and today we weren’t able to capitalise fully with three points. But we’re getting closer. They have the attitude of never being beaten which is good.”
The first equaliser was rebound scored by Devante Cole after his penalty was saved. It was a second penalty given to the Reds in four days after a 591-day wait for a league spot-kick at Oakwell.
Collins said: “They say it’s like busses. But a team who plays on the front foot should create opportunities to get penalties. It looked a penalty to me.”
Herbie Kane was the designated penalty taker on Tuesday but Cole took the spot-kick this time. Collins said: “I will need to deal with that on Monday. I have not had a chance to talk about it yet. I will talk to the players about it.”
Collins played down Fleetwood suggestions they should have had a penalty seconds after half-time, calling Jordan Williams’ challenge a ‘perfect tackle.’
The second goal saw O’Keeffe head home his first Barnsley goal from a Kane cross. Collins said: “It was fantastic ball by Herbie, a great header by Corey. Great team goal. But we didn’t quite have enough of that quality today.”
O’Keeffe added: “The feeling in the camp is frustration that we didn’t win. But it’s good to equalise late.
The gaffer has said on another day we win that game comfortably. We fought it out and got a point
“I was telling Herbie the other day that, when he gets the ball, I make that run and he doesn’t find me. He said ‘OK next time I will.’ Fair play to him, I made the run and he found me. It was perfect ball, I didn’t have to break my stride. He faked as if he was going to shoot and the dink over the top fooled them.”
Sam Cosgrove missed the game, with 17-year-old Fabio Jalo coming off the bench.
Collins said: “Sam has a small injury. It’s nothing major. We wanted to protect him. Fabio Jalo has done very very well behind the scenes and he showed some of his quality when he came on.”