Match report: Barnsley 1 Coventry 2

Leon Clarke sinks Barnsley as he beats Barnsley keeper Luke Steele
Leon Clarke sinks Barnsley as he beats Barnsley keeper Luke Steele
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Livid Barnsley boss Danny Wilson was so angry he decided against facing the music after watching his desperately struggling side get dumped out of the FA Cup by League One Coventry.

After keeping his players locked inside the dressing room for almost an hour after they capitulated late on at Oakwell, Wilson sent assistant Micky Mellon out to speak to the waiting media following a new low in what has already been a dire 2013/14 campaign.

Barnsley v Coventry City'FA CUP ROUND 3'Barnsley Jim O'Brien is denied by Coventry keeper Joe Murphy

Barnsley v Coventry City'FA CUP ROUND 3'Barnsley Jim O'Brien is denied by Coventry keeper Joe Murphy

Wilson is still looking for a first win after five games since returning for a second stint as manager last month, and to duck the tough questions following such a short time perhaps says a lot.

Mellon unsurprisingly had some harsh words for the players who had drawn some fierce criticism from the watching Reds fans at the final whistle.

He said: “Of course it’s been a very disappointing day for everyone.

“The players are feeling a little sorry for themselves back there, and so they should.

“There was a lack of passion and desire out there in the second half and in the end we’ve got what we deserved - nothing.

“It’s been a difficult season for everyone, but we can’t excuse many more performances like that.

“We’ve only got the league to concentrate on now, and there are some really tough fixtures coming up.

“We just have to be better.

“The mood in the camp is good - even after a result like that - so we just have to keep working as hard as possible to get the results we need during the rest of the season.”

There was little team news ahead of the game.

Wilson had presumably been suitably impressed with the performance at Birmingham on New Year’s Day when the Reds returned from St Andrews with a well-earned 1-1 draw.

The only change that the manager did make was enforced.

New loan capture from Stoke City Brek Shea was unavailable, but there was a ready-made replacement in the shape of Tomasz Cywka, who stepped up from the bench.

Martin Cranie was again in the defence, skippering the Reds against his former side.

Coventry’s two alterations were also forced on manager Steven Pressley following the excellent 3-1 victory at Rotherham three days earlier.

A pair of injuries - particularly to on-fire striker Callum Wilson - meant youngster Denzel Slager came in, with John Fleck returning to the midfield.

To give the Reds some credit, they performed well in the first half, and perhaps just about deserved to be in front at the interval.

They went in front after just 19 minutes with a fairly routine strike from Jim O’Brien.

The determined Scot chased down a huge punt forward from Jean-Yves M’voto and expertly lifted a shot over the head of Sky Blues keeper Joe Murphy from 15 yards.

At that point prospects looked rosy, and the hosts were denied by the woodwork minutes later when Cywka curled an exquisite shot against the post.

Even into the second period the Reds continued to press for a second goal as Cywka headed into the side-netting and David Perkins’ well-struck shot was saved at the second attempt by Murphy.

The woodwork saved the Reds with 20 minutes to go when Leon Clarke swivelled superbly before lifting a shot against the crossbar, but the tide was about to turn dramatically with just 12 minutes remaining.

Coventry had already been pressing desperately by the time they did even it up thanks to Franck Moussa, who latched onto a smart Carl Baker through-ball before smashing high into the net past a stunned Luke Steele.

The Sky Blues’ tails were up and Clarke fired inches wide, before defender Cyrus Christie was twice denied by a breath-taking double-stop from the agile Steele.

The visitors were hungry for the winner, and it predictably came a minute from the end of normal times from lethal frontman Clarke.

He fired unerringly into the roof of the net to register his 18th goal of the season after neatly meeting another measured Baker ball through the heart of the Reds defence.

It was all over - but the Reds still contrived to miss a gilt-edged opportunity to bag a replay in Northampton when Jacob Mellis fired straight at Murphy from just eight yards.

It’s still far too early to predict whether Wilson has any regrets about returning to Oakwell for a second spell in what is a very hot seat at present, but it’s difficult to imagine that confidence will not have been sorely affected by this dismal FA Cup exit.