Neill Collins says Barnsley struggled to deal with Stevenage’s physicality in their 2-1 Tuesday defeat but played down fears the Reds could fall out of the top six.

Adam Phillips put the visitors in front but the hosts netted either side of half-time.

Fifth-placed Barnsley are now eight points off the top two and six clear in the top six, with four matches to play, having collected eight points from their last eight games.

Head coach Collins said: “For 20 minutes of the second half, Stevenage were well on top, put us under the cosh with set piece after set piece. We know that’s what they are good at. It wasn’t anything from a tactical perspective. They have big strong bodies and we were trying to deal with duel after duel.

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“We had carved them open at times and could have been ahead by more. To go in level was a bit of blow because for the last 30 minutes of the half we looked like adding to our lead after a couple of early scares. We got into fantastic positions but lacked that finishing touch. That seems to be where we are right now. We got punished with two really cheap goals.”

Asked about the first quarter of the game when Stevenage had all the chances, Collins said: “One of the best chances, the ball was a yard out. I got the impression a lot of their chances were from direct play and we struggled to deal with the physical element they had. For all our structure and organisation, they had better size and we didn’t cope with it as well as we could have.”

Collins was disappointed with the equaliser on the stroke of half-time then the winner from a free-kick just after the break.

“We did a lot of preparations because we know they sustain attacks so well. For us not to be able to get out put pressure on the ball was really really poor.

“I need to look at the second goal but it’s two free-kicks in two games and we need to be better.”

Barnsley wanted a penalty for a foul on Devante Cole near the end.

“At the time I felt he was in a great position. Little breaks here and there, you would like to think even themselves out over the season. It was more than preventable on our own part.”

This was the second time many fans had travelled to Stevenage after the game was originally called off in January,

Collins said: “No one is more disappointed than us. For the fans who have travelled twice we can only try to make it up to them. Our away form has been superb. We’ve given them a lot to be proud of. Tonight we let the game get away from us with fine margins.”

Is Collins concerned the Reds could drop out of the top six?

“I am just concerned about winning the next game. It’s the first time we’ve lost back to back games since the third and fourth games of the season. We just need to concentrate on getting the small margins back in our faovur beccaue I think that’s all it is. We’re disappointed with recent results but I don’t think it will take long to turn around.”

Herbie Kane was again on the bench but was brought on in the second half.

“Herbie was excellent. Like other players he’s been poivital but has dipped a bit after carrying a heavy laod all season. Herbie playing like that generally makes us a better team.”