Admittedly Leeds were awful, continuing their run of terrible performances which also saw them extend a disappointing win-less run at Oakwell. The first half saw the home side, who hadn't won in fifteen, take total control as they carved out a vast amount of chances. Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was in good form, making two or three smart saves and the lively Marlon Harewood struck the post as Barnsley continued to defy their lowly league position. Historically, they always raise their game against us and the array of opportunities, combined with an abundance of corners ensured that the first half today was no different. Somehow, Leeds went into half-time at nil-nil. The atmosphere in the away end through the latter stages of the first half were as hostile as ever and the players were greeted by a chorus of boos as they walked off. Justified, possibly. Correct thing to do, no. It only makes things worse.
Anyone at the game could appreciate that the opening stages of the second half were a little better. David Norris and El Hadji Diouf were replaced by Paul Green and Ross McCormack and fifteen minutes into the second half, Leeds finally had a worthwhile attempt on goal. Debutant loanee Ross Barkley's turn and shot rebounded unluckily off the bar and finally we looked like we could get something out of the game. Had it gone in, maybe things would have gone differently.
The game-changing moment came on 63 minutes. A positive run to the Leeds by-line by Dagnall was stopped illegally by young Sam Byram with the referee correctly pointing to the spot. Despite his undoubted talent and potential, the young right back has played poorly for a few weeks and again showed a real misjudgement caused by inexperience. Ultimately it was to cost Leeds the game and Dagnall sent Kenny the wrong way to give Barnsley a fully deserved lead.
So where are we going wrong? Probably just abut everywhere. Byram's form has slipped in recent weeks and his selection slides Lee Peltier into a position that he has no idea how to play. I've never been convinced by Alan Tate and although Jason Pearce alongside him is a battler, we never really look assured at the back. But for once, the defence isn't the main problem. The midfield is. Its the area where we're really getting punished. Despite being seemingly declared fit, Rodolph Austin again showed that he is a long way short of the pace with a frankly awful performance. David Norris had a rare shocker and Michael Tonge was uninspiring despite battling hard. Diouf was poor again; last time I saw him play well was around early October and Becchio did nothing. The only bright spark was arguably Ross Barkley; despite being a little greedy at times he showed effort and a touch of class that wasn't matched by anyone else.
I was as disappointed as anyone with both the result and the performance. But the reaction from the fans at full time was nothing short of a disgrace. I understand that fans pay their money and expect better but booing and gesturing abusively at a captain and manager of our football club is a new low.