Neill Collins admits it will be ‘really difficult’ for Barnsley to get automatic promotion after a ‘bitterly disappointing’ 2-0 home loss to lowly Cambridge United on Good Friday.

The visitors had lost their last games 6-0 and 4-0, picking up a point from seven, and losing four in a row away from home.

But a bizarre own and second half header left fifth-placed Barnsley ten points off second with two games in hand, and seven to play.

Collins told the Chronicle: “The last two home results have made it really difficult.

“We needed to win those games. We’ve been in football long enough to know it’s all to play for but it was a game we wanted to get three points from to put pressure on and we didn’t manage to do that. But the lads have shown great resilience all season and we’re not going to pack up now.”

On the game, Collins said: “I am bitterly disappointed and really frustrated with the result. How I feel about that I don’t think matches with a lot of the things that I saw.

“The first goal is a freak incident then we should have put the ball in the net and missed good chances.

“We got punished again and the second goal made it really difficult. There are parts of the our performance which need to be better and individually executing things which would give us even more chances.

“We’ve had other performances when we get one chance and score and we’re all happy. We had multiple chances today and didn’t take them.”

Mael de Gevigney’s 13th-minute pass went past goalkeeper Liam Roberts and in. Collins said: “It's one in a million. It’s a misplaced backpass but I don’t want to go into too much detail. Normally that goes back to the goalkeeper and you play it up the field. Today it went in and we were punished brutally. It was the last thing we need.

“The two guys have been fantastic for us. It’s a mix-up, you see it now and again. It happens to some of the best in the world.

“I thought we had enough to come back but it becomes tiring constantly having to chase the game.”

Defender Josh Earl said of the opening goal: “Sometimes it just happens. Both of them have pulled us out of the rubble loads of times. After that we had enough chances. Maybe we lacked quality at times.

“We were by far the better team. It’s just that the two goals are rubbish. They scored with their two chances.

“There are 21 points left. It’s a crazy sport. No one has lost hope yet. We’re all still fighting until the last game of the season and see what happens then.”

Home fans booed at half-time and full-time as well as when Collins took John McAtee off for Sam Cosgrove.

Collins said: “It’s not what we want to hear but it’s just the frustration. We’re all frustrated. You speak to any of our families, we go home as frustrated as the fans. That’s just their way of expressing it.

“In respect to the changes, we’ll all have opinions about who can do what. Sam has been an excellent sub and we felt it was the right decision at the time.

“We proceded to lose a goal so I don’t think we got a fair refection of what that might have given us.”

Collins thought Barnsley had enough chances to win. He said: “Corey O’Keeffe put two or three across face of goal and Devante (Cole) was a stud away. We can create more and do better with the last ball. But we have to be careful because you can’t say we created any less than in a lot of our victories. In the victories we took those chances today we didn’t and got brutally punished at other end.”