BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill slammed the club’s boo boys as his side came unstuck against basement club Bristol City.
Craig Davies’ debut goal looked to have salvaged a battling point for the Reds in front of the lowest league crowd of the season at Oakwell.
There were nearly 600 fewer fans watching the Reds than the club’s previous lowest home gate of 9,497 against Coventry City.
And some of those fans let their frustration be known, firstly booing off the home side who were a goal behind at the break.
But even more bizarrely a section of supporters even decided to boo skipper Jacob Butterfield late in the second half when he was announced on the tanoy system as the man of the match winner.
By then the Reds had equalised through Davies and were in the ascendancy with the Robins, chasing only their second win of the season, under pressure to prevent a complete turnaround having bossed the opening half. No wonder Hill was left bemused and angry.
“It’s a disgrace that some of the supporters booed Jacob Butterfield,” Hill told The Star. “Whoever wins the man of the match award should be applauded, not booed.
“If that type of support is supposed to persuade Jacob Butterfield to sign a new contract, then those supporters will be very much mistaken.”
He added: “The players are only human like myself and they respond to whatever flavour the atmosphere is.
“The booing is not a true reflection of the true supporters. I went to Darfield Cricket Club on Thursday night and I met the genuine supporters and people of Barnsley. It was a real privilege to meet them, I was honoured and humbled.
“But the booing was just wrong. Those that are booing are seriously putting the fortunes of this club in doubt.”
Hill has a valid point, but football fans are fickle and the manager must know deep down that good performances and more wins will be the best way to silence that section of critics.
Winger Matt Done returned to the starting XI in place of David Perkins having recovered from a hamstring injury, while Jay McEveley was also recalled at left-back with Jimmy McNulty replacing Rob Edwards in central defence.
As early as the sixth minute winger Jim O’Brien had a shot deflected wide, but the Reds only hit the target once in the first half as the Robins – who had lost their last five matches – pressed quickly whenever the hosts had possession and whom deserved their 14th minute lead.
Having seen captain Liam Fontaine head over from a Ryan McGivern corner, midfielder Neil Kilkenny picked out Nicky Maynard. The striker threaded a neat pass to Albert Adomah to slot into the bottom left-hand corner.
Maynard should have doubled the lead four minutes later, but he kicked the ground with an open net at his mercy.
Kilkenny had a right-foot drive deflected for a corner before Maynard shot straight at Steele.
Butterfield forced a smart save from former England keeper David James, but that was the hosts only real decent chance of the half.
A teamtalk about being “brave” and “playing without fear” from Hill seemed to have done the trick for the Reds as two minutes after the restart Manchester United loanee Danny Drinkwater rifled a free-kick over the woodwork.
At the other end Maynard fired over after some good work with Martyn Woolford.
Scott Wiseman cleared off the line from an Adomah header not long after, the Reds broke and, somehow, Gray fluffed his lines with an open net. McEveley whipped in a delightful ball from the left edge of the area and Gray seemed to shin the ball over from inside the six-yard box.
Butterfield shot over just before the hour mark and then hit the angle of the left post and bar with a rasping shot.
O’Brien fired high and wide, but the introduction of Perkins and Davies as substitutes turned the tide.
Perkins picked out McEveley and, from the defender’s smart square ball, there was Davies to fire into the left corner.
Reds’ keeper Luke Steele pulled off a brilliant save to dent Marvin Elliott with three minutes remaining and it looked as though Hill’s charges would at least take a point for their efforts.
But heartbreak was just around the corner when Maynard lashed a sweet right-foot shot into the top left corner.
“I felt the performance merited more,” said Hill. “We’ve hit th bar and Andy Gray should have scored, but when we went 1-0 down that [negative] atmosphere can leak into players. And it did.”