BARNSLEY boss Danny Wilson couldn’t hide his frustration after his misfiring side were humiliated in their Yorkshire derby showdown with Huddersfield Town.
And to rub salt into a gaping wound it was former Reds’ boss Mark Robins who orchestrated the South Yorkshire club’s downfall as they once again sunk to the bottom of the Championship.
A five-goal trashing was understandably hard to stomach, perhaps more so with the Reds having impressed in the early stages.
But if there was anything to take from a miserable afternoon at the office, other results thankfully went the Reds way and, although they are now rooted to the foot of the table, they still remain just two points away from clawing their way out of the relegation zone.
So the equation is now 14 games remaining – and still time to secure their status in the English second tier for an eighth successive season.
But on this evidence the hit-and-miss Reds might not have enough time, although with Wilson at the helm they have a fighting chance. Can he work a miracle though?
“This was our day to really put out foot down on the gas,” reflected Wilson, keen for his side to have built on a fine win last weekend.
“I thought we did for the 30 minutes, we were excellent. We should have had two or three goals, even four goals in that period of time.
“We had some great chances, but we didn’t find the back of the net with any of them.
“But there shouldn’t be a reflection at the other end of the pitch, because defensively we were poor. We were poor all over the pitch.
“They [Huddersfield] got a third goal and then we were never in it. The game was over then.
“We have to try and take the positives from the position we’re in, but we gave the ball away too cheaply and made a lot of mistakes.
“It was an accumulation of things – but it was just poor.”
It was such a shame that the Reds couldn’t build on last weekend’s excellent – and much-needed – 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Millwall at Oakwell.
That victory sees a whole host of teams involved in the battle to avoid the dreaded drop. However this weekend’s results, which saw Millwall, Yeovil, Charlton and Doncaster all lose, fell kindly to soften the blow. But the Reds will need to bounce back from this defeat – and quickly.
“It’s not nice dropping to the foot of the table, but the one comfort is that we’re not any different points’ wise [from getting out of the relegation zone],” stressed Wilson.
“We’re still in their fighting – and we will fight. We’ve got two games next week where most people will think we can’t get anything, but that’s where upsets are made.
“We’ve got some very passionate players and fans, so emotions are riding high. So when you get a result like this then it’s not very easy to take.”
Wilson made one forced to change to his side for the Reds’ derby trip to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Winger Jim O’Brien, who scored the winning goal last Saturday in a 1-0 win over Millwall, missed out through illness.
And that gave Stoke City loanee Liam Lawrence the chance to start against the Terriers as the Reds’ chased their first back-to-back wins since March 2013.
Defender Bobby Hassell was one of two other players unavailable for selection, still absent with a trouble some calf injury, while Liverpool loanee Ryan McLaughlin continues to nurse a hamstring problem.
Robins made two changes to his side as they looked to claim their first home win in three matches, with former Reds’ winger Adam Hammill starting against his former club.
As early as the ninth minute centre-back Peter Ramage made a fine goal-line clearance to stop Danny Ward from scoring, before the Reds got on top.
Jack Hunt, playing against his former club, whipped in a dangerous cross soon after and Nick Proschwitz saw keeper Alex Smithies deny him with a brilliant point-blank save.
But the Terriers scored against the run of play when Keith Southern pounced for his first goal of the season, tapping in after some poor defending, before three minutes later Nahki Wells picked out Ward and he made no mistake from close range.
Luke Steele produced an excellent block to thwart Wells ten minutes before the break, while Oliver Norwood – a one time target for the Reds under former boss Keith Hill – tested Steele from distance.
Hunt blasted high and wide before the break, but the Reds were struggling to threaten.
Wells nearly put the contest out of a reach a minute before the break after a defensive mix-up between Steele and Ramage, but his lofted shot landed on the net.
But it was Hammill who came back to haunt the Reds three minutes after the restart when he netted to effectively seal the win for the hosts, firing home from close range.
It really was then a case of damage limitation, but there was still time for Adam Clayton to score from the penalty spot after Steele felled Wells inside the box and then substitute Sean Scannell netted with four minutes remaining to complete a five-star performance for the Terriers.
Midfielder Stephen Dawson had to be dragged away from an altercation with a group of Barnsley supporters after the final whistle, but Wilson was quick to play down the incident.
“I didn’t see it, but we’ll have a look at it,” said Wilson. “Emotions are running high.”
Opposite number Robins was understandably pleased, but admitted: “It could have been a different game, you know what football is like. But I was really pleased with the performance. I thought it was very professional with lots of quality as well.”
Robins singled out Man of the Match Wells’ contribution to the game. .
“I thought Nahki Wells was absolutely magnificent, I was hoping he’d get a goal,” added Robins. “But he created opportunities for others and was at the heart of everything we did.”
“There was good movement, we tried to move the ball and entertain; we’ve not held back and went right from the first minute.”