Barnsley 2-0 Blackpool
Danny Wilson was looking to get his first win as Barnsley manager after a two week break from Championship football, following an FA Cup defeat to Coventry and a waterlogged pitch at Charlton meaning the game was postponed.
Following several departures from Oakwell throughout January, it was a new-look side that took to the Oakwell turf, with on loan Stoke winger, Brek Shea, and on loan Liverpool right back Ryan McLaughlin making their home debuts. Dale Jennings was also given only his second start since joining from Bundesliga Champions, Bayern Munich, having recently spent time on loan at MK Dons.
And it was Jennings who was to have the best of a relatively uneventful first half, with several drives at the Blackpool defence being answered only with several cynical challenges from the away side. Particularly controversial was when Neal Bishop illegally returned to the pitch, having changed shirts, to put off the young-winger. The Blackpool man was subsequently booked, causing uproar from the Blackpool bench, which saw referee Rob Lewis have a word with boss Paul Ince.
Despite controlling the majority of possession, Barnsley were unable to create much, but went close to finding an opener on a couple of occasions, with Brek Shea’s deflected curling shot going just wide, and Jim O’Brien’s cheeky back heel not enough to fool Matt Gilks.
Into first half added time, Stephen Dawson managed to breakaway for the home side, only to be brought down by ‘keeper Matt Gilks in the penalty area, with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The Blackpool camp was in uproar, claiming that Dawson had been offside. That wasn’t to put off penalty taker Chris O’Grady however, who blasted the ball into the right hand side to claim his 8th goal of the season.
Things were to go from bad to worse in the second half for Blackpool, who conceded again only two minutes in, with no scope to complain against O’Brien’s cross to O’Grady who claimed his second of the game, well and truly ending his goal drought. A double substitution was made for Blackpool, but Barnsley were able to comfortably see out the game, only really inviting pressure on when they sat back for the final ten minutes of the game.
|Luke Steele Not much to do, but was commanding from crosses and was able to handle the late away pressure.||7.0|
|Ryan McLaughlin Impressive debut for the young right back. Was confident in defence and a breeze going forward, putting impressive crosses into the box||8.0|
|Peter Ramage Didn’t let Tom Ince’s pace get the better of him, and solid when called upon.||7.0|
|Martin Cranie (C) Like Ramage, wan’t called upon often but was solid and commanding when needed.||7.0|
|Tom Kennedy Looked more solid than usual, with Dale Jennings’ defensive work in front of him providing some much needed help.||6.5|
|Jim O’Brien Played in an unusual central position, and enjoyed a committed, all-action performance from box-to-box. Brilliant cross to O’Grady for the second goal. Sponsors’ Man of the Match||8.5|
|Stephen Dawson Good at breaking up the opposition’s play and covered the full backs well when going forward, but gave the ball away too easily||6.5|
|Jacob Mellis Struggled to get into the game in the first half, and a passenger at times. Played behind the front 3 and was unable to create much||6.5|
|Brek Shea Good home debut for the American, who’s first touch was perhaps a little heavy at times in the first half. Wasn’t afraid to have a shot on goal, and was capable of crossing with both feet||7.5|
|Dale Jennings Lightning fast going forward, and tough tackling when going back. Begs the question as to why the previous management were unwilling to give him a chance. The type of player that Barnsley have really missed this season||9.0|
|Chris O’Grady Calm in dispatching his penalty, and got himself into a good position for his headed goal. Back to his best after a dry patch of form in front of goal||8.5|
|Reuben Noble-Lazarus Little chance to get into the game, but made a couple of errors||6.0|
|Liam Lawrence Also little chance to get into the game, but kept the ball well, and was calm in the pass||7.0|
|Paul Digby Like Lawrence, calm on the ball, was able to spray a couple of passes, but introduced too late to produce anything of note||7.0|
|Matt Gilks Kept out a couple of goals, but was clumsy in bringing Dawson down to concede a penalty||5.5|
|Neal Bishop Had no response to Jennings’ runs but to continually cut him down. Lucky to have not been sent off||5.5|
|Craig Cathcart Like Bishop, but perhaps a little more solid||6.0|
|Kirk Broadfoot The most calm of Blackpool’s defenders, solid from set pieces.||6.5|
|Jack Robinson Did relatively well against the threat of Shea, but offered little going forward for a full back||6.5|
|Barry Ferguson (C) Seemed the brightest of Blackpool’s players, and was capable of spraying passes throughout the midfield||7.0|
|Angel Martínez Difficult to see what he contributed, subbed early in the second half following Barnsley’s 2nd goal||5.5|
|Chris Basham Did a good defensive job against the Reds and managed to get forward on occasion||6.5|
|Isaiah Osbourne Like Martínez, subbed early in the second half after struggling to get into the game||0.0|
|Tom Ince A quiet afternoon for Ince. Had no luck against McLaughlin and Shea on the right, so moved to the left and then back again||5.5|
|Steve Davies Squandered a lot of chances, and caught offside for most of his runs during the game||6.0|
|Michael Chopra Was the only Blackpool player to provide some threat going forward, but didn’t come close to scoring.||6.0|
|Nathan Tyson Had more luck against Kennedy than Ince, but wasn’t given much opportunity to get on the ball||7.0|
|Rob Harris Brought on too late to have any particular impact||6.0|
Man of the Match
|Dale Jennings Blackpool were unable to cope with the tricky winger, who made blistering runs forward and then did a good job of helping out Tom Kennedy in defence. The opposition’s only answer to him was to continually cut him down and stop him in his tracks||9.0|