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[Archived] News Article -> 2013/14 Match Report: Barnsley 2 Rovers 2

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Barnsley (1) 2 – 2 (2) Blackburn Rovers
Proschwitz 29, O'Grady (pen) 69 Cairney 36, Gestede 44
Referee: S. Stockbridge Attendance: 9,703 (684 Rovers)

As Gary Bowyer is apt to remind us "there are no easy games in this division". Barnsley might well be languishing at the bottom of the league, but in the second half they displayed the type of battling qualities that may yet see them clamber out of the relegation zone. However, their greatest ally might well be secured by drafting in Sebastian Stockbridge and his linesmen to officiate at their future matches. For the third successive league game the decisions of officials, with regard to awarding penalties, swayed the outcome and decided the destination of the points.

Of course, it would be wrong to put the whole of the blame for this disappointing result on the shoulders of another set of incompetent officials. They seem to be par for the course in the Championship. In many ways the Rovers were the architects of their own downfall by not making more of the possession which they enjoyed during the first half. Having overrun Barnsley for much of the first forty-five minutes, they only had a one-goal margin to show for their dominance and then, in the second half, found themselves being forced to defend as Barnsley upped the tempo of their game. Ultimately, it was another soft penalty decision which proved to be the deciding factor, whilst two strong penalty claims by the Rovers went unanswered. Whatever one thinks of the tactics that the Rovers employ there can be no argument that the club are not getting the rub of the green with regard to key decisions or injuries.

Gary Bowyer made a change to the starting eleven with Ben Marshall ruled out by injury and Chris Taylor dropping down to the bench. David Dunn and Lee Williamson came into a midfield that adopted a narrow diamond formation with Dunny playing just behind Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes. The width was supplied by Adam Henley and Tommy Spurr trying to get forward at every opportunity.

The Rovers took the initiative from the start and within five minutes Luke Steele was forced to make a save to keep out an effort from Tom Cairney. On seven minutes a cross from Spurr was heading towards the head of Rhodes in front of goal, when he was flattened from behind. Although the ball came out to Gestede, his shot was saved by the legs of Steele. However, it is difficult to imagine a claim for a more blatant penalty than the Rovers had for the foul on Rhodes and yet Mr Stockbridge appeared completely unmoved.

Undeterred, the Rovers continued to pin the home side back in their half as they passed the ball around with growing confidence. Gestede, who was looking very dangerous, had another effort blocked and Dunn was just wide with a clever chip. Dunn, who was at the heart of everything in the opening half, played an inch-perfect pass out to Henley, who was galloping down the wing. The young full-back's cross found Spurr on the left and his shot took a deflection off Rhodes and seemed goalbound until Steele made a save.

It was difficult to see how the home side would get in the game and then, on 17 minutes, Nick Proschwitz beat the offside trap and found himself in front of goal with just Paul Robinson to beat. The time and space which the striker had seemed to take him by surprise and when he finally got his shot away, Robinson produced a brilliant piece of goalkeeping to get down to his right to make a one-handed save.

The Rovers had another glorious chance on 23 minutes when Cairney's corner found the head of Gestede, but on this occasion the former Cardiff man's attempt was off target.

On 29 minutes Barnsley had their second chance of the game and on this occasion made no mistake. A wickedly curling cross from Dale Jennings completely deceived Grant Hanley and once the centre-back missed the ball it was too late for Henley to pick up Proschwitz, who rifled the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range.

The Rovers continued to take the game to Barnsley and got the goal that their efforts deserved on 36 minutes and what a goal it was. Dunn and Gestede, who were the spearhead of all Rovers' attacking moves, combined in a move which saw the ball break for Cairney, who hit the perfect shot from fully 25 yards over Steele and into the net.

The Rovers were now in complete command, as they had been for most of the half, and on 44 minutes Gestede gave the Rovers the lead. The architect of the goal was Dunn, who went on a great run before finding Gestede with a superb pass. The striker wasted no time in beating Steele at the near post with a shot which flew into the back of the net.

Danny Wilson made one change at half-time as he looked to try to get his team a foothold in the game. However, it was the Rovers who had the first opportunity of the half when Dunn again split the defence with a pass that gave Cairney the chance to shoot. Sadly, on this occasion the former Hull man was just too high with his effort.

Wilson made two further changes as Barnsley suddenly started to cope with the Rovers' dominance in midfield. Indeed, Williamson was having to work overtime to cover the gaps that suddenly started to appear. With Dunny tiring, Lowe struggling and Cairney fading, the home side began to dominate the possession in the middle of the park. Williamson, to his credit, kept things ticking over by winning tackles and keeping the passing simple.

Just as it looked as if the Rovers had weathered the storm the officials conspired to throw the home side a lifeline with a very soft penalty decision against Spurr. A cross from Barnsley's left wing was deflected high in the air and as Liam Lawrence waited for the ball, he clearly felt the presence of Spurr at his back and went to ground. As the referee hesitated, the linesman, who was looking at the front of Lawrence and certainly couldn't see what was going on behind the Barnsley player, flagged for a penalty which the referee duly gave. Chris O'Grady made the most of the gift and converted the spot-kick.

Things went from bad to worse for the Rovers when Williamson, who had enjoyed an excellent second half, was sent crashing to the ground in an aerial duel and had to be stretchered off after a long delay while he received treatment.

The injury resulted in nine minutes of added time and both sides went in search of a winner. Rhodes, who had been virtually anonymous for much of the match, fired into the side-netting, whilst Hanley was unfortunate to see a delicate glancing header deflected just wide when it seemed destined for the net.

The Rovers continued to search for a winner and really ought to have snatched it at the death when Spurr's corner found Rhodes in front of goal, but the striker headed well wide when in a good position.

In the final minutes Robinson had to tip an effort from Jim O'Brien away when it looked as if the visitors might have grabbed a late and undeserved winner.

In many ways a draw was a fair result with the Rovers dominating the first half and Barnsley enjoying more of the second period. In the first half the Rovers played some excellent football but didn't make their superiority count in terms of goals. In the second period the home side got the better of the Rovers in midfield with only Williamson offering the required resistance. Sadly, one or two players were a little below par with Lowe and Rhodes making little impact, whilst Taylor and Josh King offered less than one might have expected when they came on as substitutes.

In the end the result was influenced, once again, by officiating that was dubious at best. Rovers could easily have had two penalties — the Rhodes incident and one when Henley was felled in the area — but in the end got neither. Barnsley, on the other hand, received the softest of decisions. They say that decisions even themselves out over the course of the season, so the Rovers are due quite a windfall of good fortune in the final months of the campaign.

Whilst it was a frustrating night for the travelling fans, the fact remains that the Championship throws up this type of result on a regular basis. At the moment the Rovers are a decent top-ten side but are, perhaps, a player or two short of being top-six material and are certainly some way off being ready to challenge for automatic promotion. Nonetheless, having gone from relegation battlers less than twelve months ago to a comfortable top-half side is progress even if the progress is not as rapid as some would like.

The Rovers are now five points adrift in the race for sixth place — six in effect when goal difference is taken into account — and there is now little margin for error if the Rovers want to keep the season alive. The visit of Blackpool at the weekend gives them an opportunity to get back to winning ways, but the Seasiders themselves are due a change in fortunes, so it promises to be another intriguing game.

Paul Robinson again demonstrated that he is the undisputed number one 'keeper at the club. His save in the first half was quite brilliant and he did well to preserve a point right at the end. It was an assured performance by the former England man.

Adam Henley had a better game and enjoyed more time getting forward under the system that was used. At times he might have crossed the ball instead of passing back for the cross to be made. Nonetheless, it was an improved performance from the youngster.

Grant Hanley was caught out for the opening goal in that Proschwitz had pulled away from him and got between him and Henley. Otherwise the stand-in skipper performed well in defence.

Matt Kilgallon gave another steady performance which suggests that if Dann leaves, then the former Sunderland man would simply step up to fill the void on a permanent basis.

Tommy Spurr, like Henley, saw plenty of the ball in forward positions. He attacked well down the left and got in a number of decent crosses. Defensively he performed well when called upon and was rather unfortunate with the penalty award against him.

Lee Williamson grew into the game and was excellent during the second half until he was injured. Neat and tidy in possession and prepared to put his foot in and win the ball in midfield, this was a very similar performance to the one he gave at Elland Road.

Tom Cairney was given more of a roving role and played much of the game in the middle of the field. He scored a cracking goal, but one or two passes went astray at times in dangerous areas.

Jason Lowe partnered Cairney in front of Williamson but didn't have the best of games. He got around the pitch, but his passing wasn't the best and he struggled with a slightly different role.

David Dunn played just behind the front two and in the first half he was the most creative player in the team. Everything positive went through him and he created the goal for Gestede just before half-time. He tired in the second half and it was no surprise when he was withdrawn.

Rudy Gestede grabbed another goal and was the main threat in front of goal. He held the ball up well and was a constant threat in the area both in the air and on the ground.

Jordan Rhodes had a disappointing game by his standards. He never really got into the game and was surprisingly anonymous against a defence that looked anything but watertight.

Chris Taylor replaced David Dunn and made little impact on the game.

Josh King came on for the injured Williamson and despite several promising runs his final ball was pretty indifferent. As so often with King he flatters to deceive.



Luke Steele; Lewin Nyatanga (Tomasz Cywka 55), Peter Ramage, Martin Cranie, Tom Kennedy; Stephen Dawson (Paul Digby 46); Brek Shea, Jim O'Brien; Dale Jennings (Liam Lawrence 62); Chris O'Grady, Nick Proschwitz
Subs not used: Christian Dibble (gk), Paddy McCourt, Jean-Yves Mvoto, Reuben Noble-Lazarus
Manager: Danny Wilson

Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson; Adam Henley, Grant Hanley, Matt Kilgallon, Tommy Spurr; Lee Williamson (Josh King 77); Jason Lowe, Tom Cairney; David Dunn (Chris Taylor 64); Rudy Gestede, Jordan Rhodes
Subs not used: Simon Eastwood (gk), Todd Kane, Markus Olsson, Josh Morris, Connor Mahoney
Manager: Gary Bowyer


Barnsley – Stephen Dawson

Blackburn Rovers – Jason Lowe

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