Barnsley: Wilson still positive despite going down with a whimper

Jim O'Brien in action for Barnsley against QPR at Oakwell
Jim O'Brien in action for Barnsley against QPR at Oakwell
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Barnsley dropped into League One with a whimper as QPR strolled to victory in the sunshine at Oakwell on Saturday.

The Reds were already doomed to the drop ahead of the weekend of course, and to offer them some credit they at least produced an improved performance in the second half, with leading scorer Chris O’Grady bagging two excellently-taken goals.

Harry Redknapp’s Rangers were always in control, however, and with a much-changed side they secured a deserved win as they gear up for their crunch play-off semi-final double-header against FA Cup heroes Wigan.

Despite another defeat - the Reds ended their dismal season with just five home victories - boss Danny Wilson spoke positively about his team’s efforts in their final ‘nothing’ game.

He appeared satisfied that his side competed well as he is looking forward to what promises to be a hectic summer of re-building and re-shaping his worn-out squad.

Wilson said: “I thought we were holding our own until they scored two quick goals just before half-time.

“For the first one a defensive mistake cost us - again - and then a freakish own-goal has made it 2-0 at a really bad stage of the game.

“Overall, and particularly in the second half, I think the lads played their part against a top quality team.

“We looked quite solid at times and that’s something we’ve not always enjoyed this season.

“Yes, Luke Steele has made a few good saves, but we held our own on a day when that bit of real quality has shone through.”

Team news-wise, Wilson made four changes to the side that had been relegated to the third tier seven days earlier at Middlesbrough.

Peter Ramage and Jim O’Brien were welcome additions following troublesome injuries, while Tomasz Cywka stepped up from the bench to hopefully add a bit more creativity to the midfield.

Up front, young Danny Rose was given the nod to start his first game of the season now that he was back following an encouraging loan spell at Dave Flitcroft’s Bury.

Wilson also rewarded teenagers James Bree, Rhys Oates, Nana Boakye-Yiadom and Jack Cowgill with a place on the bench for the first time.

Unsurprisingly Rangers boss Redknapp made SEVEN changes to his starting XI ahead of their play-off campaign.

However, it was still a side which featured plenty of internationally-recognised talent in the form of Rob Green, Armand Traore, Kevin Doyle, Aaron Hughes and Yossi Benayoun.

The first half resembled a hum-drum training exercise at times.

Neither side appeared genuinely determined to thrust themselves onto their opponents in search of an opening goal.

Rangers were already guaranteed fourth spot in the Championship so they were going nowhere on this day.

The Reds’ first half-chance came in the 15th minute when O’Grady fired narrowly wide, while Dale Jennings saw a free-kick comfortably held by former England stopper Green.

Two goals in two minutes shortly before half-time proved to be Rangers’ killer strikes.

The first came when Traore pounced on a mistake before playing in Charlie Austin who slotted easily past the advancing Steele from 12 yards.

A minute later Jean-Yves M’voto inadvertently hooked Doyle’s weak cross past a stunned Steele, and the groans again rang around Oakwell.

It did get better after the break.

O’Grady notched his 14th goal of the season nine minutes after the restart when he glanced home a header from Jennings’ superb in-swinging cross.

Jennings himself almost levelled soon after, but midway through the second period South Korean Yun Suk-Young skipped past three challenges before driving past Steele, and that was ‘game over’.

O’Grady drilled home a cracker from 25 yards to pull it back to 3-2, but by then the game was about to head into stoppage-time and Rangers held on comfortably.