Match Analysis: Barnsley 1 Fuham 3 - Needless red card leaves Heckingbottom fuming
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom was crestfallen after his 10-man team were stunned by two late, late Fulham strikes.
The hosts led heading into the break, but Dimitri Cavare was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a poor reaction to a challenge, and the tides were turned in the second period.
The in-form Londoners went on secure a fourth straight win, thanks to a brace from Ryan Sessegnon and one from Kevin McDonald. The last two victory-clinching strikes came in stoppage-time at the end of the game.
Heckingbottom said: “It was a tough one to take because the performance in the first half was first class, as was most of the second half with 10 men. I thought we looked really comfortable and in all honesty, I couldn’t see them scoring. That’s the most disappointing thing.
“Playing against Fulham with 11 men is tough, you have to have a really strong game-plan to stop them as everyone is finding out.
“We showed first half that it can be done as we were by far the better team, but in the second half with 10 men, you’re falling back on that discipline and that work you’ve done on the training ground. You can never set a game-plane with 10 men, especially against a side like Fulham.”
It proved to be an emotional day at Oakwell, with Reds fans inside the stadium paying a silent tribute to the late Patrick Cryne before kick-off and then affording the club’s former owner a rousing applause in the 66th minute, and the opening 45 minutes went exactly as Heckingbottom will have planned.
Liam Lindsay fired the Reds into a 31st minute lead when he turned home from a corner, though Fulham’s defenders and goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli were particularly aggrieved as they clearly felt there had been a push in the build-up to the goal.
That lead held strong until stoppage-time when Cavare saw red, then in the second period the hosts’ prospects nosedived somewhat McDonald stabbed home in the 92nd minute to give the visitors the lead, before Sessegnon sealed victory seconds before the final whistle.
Boss hits out at sent-off Cavare
Heckingbottom and the Barnsley players seemingly had a go at Dimitri Cavare after the French defender was shown a second yellow card for a poor reaction to a Stefan Johansen challenge.
The Reds were forced to play all of the second half a man down, and that ultimately proved decisive.
Heckingbottom said: “We’ll keep it private what was said to Dimitri in the dressing room, but he let everyone down.
“The pleasing thing for me, though, was that he was told that by the players before I got in there.
“We’re trying to promote that here. We’ve got to have trustworthy people in our team. When we recruit players they have to be trustworthy. They all have to know what we’re about. We have to rely on everyone doing their jobs properly, from the staff down to the players. You have to be trusted.”
the Major turning point
Although Fulham didn’t grab their victory until very late in the game, the sending-off of Dimitri Cavare proved to be a huge turning point.
The Reds were looking good as they led 1-0 seconds before going in for half-time, but Cavare - having been booked minutes earlier - reacted badly to a challenge from Stefan Johansen and was correctly given his marching orders. Cue the major adjustments to Paul Heckingbottom’s half-time team-talk, with his side now up against it with a man short.
Fulham exploited the Reds’ man disadvantage superbly and once they’d got their equaliser just four minutes after the restart, the signs were ominous.
Fans can be assured that this will be a case of ‘lesson learned’ for the Frenchman.