We were always in control, says Paul Heckingbottom - Barnsley 0 Wigan Athletic 0
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom was frustrated that opponents Wigan managed to hold on for a goalless draw at Oakwell on Saturday.
The Reds were on top for the vast majority of the clash against the Championship strugglers, but they just couldn’t find a breakthrough.
Heckingbottom wasn’t overjoyed with a second consecutive goalless draw, but he was far from angry.
“My only criticism would be that we didn’t work their ‘keeper enough,” said Heckingbottom.
“We controlled the game from start to finish, so we were disappointed we didn’t get the three points.
“I think that shows how far we’ve come as a club, though.
“We were up against a team who romped our league last season, but we controlled the game.
“They came here and paid us the utmost respect in trying to nullify us, which they did in the end.
“It would have been a different game if we’d have scored one of our chances in the first half. That’s the only way the dynamic of the game would have changed, so that was frustrating too.
“We’re still a work in progress don’t forget. We’re always looking at ways we can keep improving.
“We had the best chances in this game, but we didn’t hit the target enough.”
Sam Winnall and Adam Armstrong missed the Reds’ best chances of the opening period, while Conor Hourihane was guilty in the second, particularly in stoppage-time when he fired tamely as Wigan’s sub goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Competition for places is good at Oakwell
Paul Heckingbottom is content to make changes to his starting line-up because his Barnsley squad currently has strength in depth.
On Saturday, Angus MacDonald was replaced at the back by Marc Roberts, while loan midfielder Sam Morsy - unable to play against his parent club - was replaced by the impressive Josh Scowen.
“I’ve got good players all over the pitch so every team I pick is a difficult decision,” said Heckingbottom, when probed about the changes.
“That’s how it should be, though.
“We’re on an unbeaten run at the moment so that makes it a little easier, and Robbo has played a big part in what we’ve done.
“The squad has got depth, which is good, and everyone’s hungry, chomping at the bit and wanting to play.
“There’s competition all over the place and that’s good. That’s how we want it.”
Touching scenes as Oakwell faithful salute ill Cryne
Following what had already been an impeccably-observed minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of the fallen soldiers, there were emotional scenes late in Saturday’s fixture at Oakwell as home fans saluted popular club owner Patrick Cryne.
Cryne (65) stepped away from his club duties last week when it was revealed that he is battling cancer.
In the 80th minute - as darkness had by that time fallen - all four sides of the ground were lit up by mobile phone lights. Even the near 1,000-strong Wigan contingent of fans joined in.
‘There’s only Patrick Cryne’ and ‘We love you, Patrick’ came the cries from the supporters, who will hopefully see Cryne back at Oakwell soon.
A similar salute is scheduled to take place in the 65th minute of Friday’s home game against Nottingham Forest.