Barnsley 1-3 Millwall ~ Match Report

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Barnsley away after our midweek thumping of poor old Dagenham was clearly not on a lot of fans agenda as only about 300 odd hardy souls made the relatively easy trip to cloth cap country. MrsB and me were happy to dust off the Bonemobile and join them in the trip to wet and windy Yorkshire to see if the hoped for resurgence was about to take place. We needed a boost of confidence and the daggers result was all of that so maybe we were expecting a lot but nevertheless that is the fate of being a Millwall fan. The journey up was about as perfect as you can get with no hold ups anywhere and we had enough time to visit a Little Chef to help out in their struggle to stay afloat, but alas, I have to report that all is not well. The one we went in has had the Heston Blumenthal make over with Blue sky ceiling tiles, lavatories that play animal noises and a menu that flatters to deceive and is quite successful at it. I am a man of simple tastes and I usually have the same breakfast in any Little Chef. The omelette breakfast; Tried and trusted over years of away travel, it fills me up enough to leave room for a pie and a coffee at the match and doesn’t sit like a bowling ball in the pit of your stomach. There was no need for an in depth look at the menu, just a quick check that the faithful omelette breakfast was there and place the order. Lovely. But we knew something was not quite right when our “cup of tea” arrived. Delivered on its own square porcelain tray was a small cup, a bowl of irregular shaped sugar lumps, a cute as a button baby milk jug and a Heath Robinson contraption that had a plunger that lowered your infused tea leaves into the steaming hot water below which then allowed you to pour your liquid out. Hmmm. It looked expensive and a quick deco at the menu proved this was the case. £2.99 for a cup of fucking tea. The three egged ‘fluffy’ omelette arrived next. Now I am no connoisseur of fine dining but I expect any omelette to at least cover a third of my plate. I think they used quail’s eggs for my one. It was tiny. I had asked for a cheese filling as well and I suspect ‘chef’ had drizzled seven or eight flakes of Romanian goat’s cheese within the centre. The whole breakfast consisted of the ‘omelette’, one whole tomato halved and grilled and two slices of toast. I looked forlornly at the plate put in front of me and then at the man who had fetched this from the kitchen (no, he is not a waiter by any stretch of the imagination) and asked him where the mushrooms and baked beans were hiding. He informed me that the new improved omelette breakfast did not include these items and if I wanted to add them I could for 99p for each ‘extra’. It was then I decided to actually check how much this gastronomic feast was costing me and to my dismay I found that the basic omelette breakfast was £5.99 with and extra 99p for the cheese. Add the cost of the tea to this and I was paying a penny less than a tenner for what were basically a toasted egg sandwich and a tea. No wonder the places are folding quicker than an Italian cruise liner captain. But I digress…. Lets get back to Barnsley away… Barnsley is a bit of a strange place to go. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way I just mean it is not what you would expect to get from a visit to Yorkshire. The locals are friendly, the Police actually tell you where the pubs are, the food is delicious in the ground and the kiosk staff were very amiable. Even the stewards are non intrusive and leave you in peace. We tucked ourselves into the cavernous away end to shelter from the wind and rain, scoffed our meat and ‘tater pies, sipped our delicious coffee and took stock of Mr Jackett’s selection as a forced change was required due to Robinson’s thigh injury. The line up, then, was as follows; Forde in goal, Barron and Smith as the backs, Craig and Ward as the centre pairing, Bouazza, Trotter, Abdou and Feeney taking care of the midfield with Kane and Henderson as the two strikers. Referee Adcock got us going and straight away you could tell we had a bit more confidence about us as we stroked the ball around and took the game to the home side. I’ll be honest here and say that I don’t know if it was our superb play but the Barnsley back four were all over the shop. The gaps they were leaving were big enough to drive the Millwall route master through and as for their attack, well; we just never looked like being threatened by them. Feeney tested Steele in the Barnsley goal early on and then Kane, looking very busy, had a header just wide from a Bouazza corner and then Henderson set up Bouazza who hit a pretty wild shot when a bit more composure might have reaped a better reward. Our link up play was very slick and Trotter and Abdou looked very much in control of the midfield while Kane and Henderson were giving their defence nightmares It was all one-way traffic and the only surprise was that we hadn’t punished Barnsley with a goal. But all that changed with about ten minutes of the half left when a lofty ball from Bouazza was dropping harmlessly into the Barnsley penalty area and for some obscure reason the Barnsley left back decided to wrestle Trotter to floor with the ball going nowhere near him. The lino spotted it and immediately flagged for a penalty. Henderson took charge of the ball and took his time, laced his boot up before sending Steele the wrong way. 0-1! And thoroughly deserved it was too. If we expected a backlash from the home side then we were quite mistaken. They carried on where they left off before our opener and virtually handed us the freedom of Oakwell. Minutes later we watched in amazement as Jimmy Abdou intercepted a cross-field pass and picked out a perfect ball to Henderson who chested the ball down and fired past the distraught Steele. 0-2 Stupendous stuff! The travelling few were dancing with delight as we finished the half still piling forward looking the more likely of the two sides to get the next goal but we did have a minor scare when a hopeful punt into our box saw Barron get the wrong side of Gray but with the goal at his mercy he headed the ball way over the bar. The lads trotted off to much applause as the half time whistle blew and why not, they deserved it.
The second half saw no changes from Mr Jackett who must’ve been pleased with the first half performance and rightly so.
Bouazza tried a free kick from a decent position but the expected fizzer was replaced by a soft curler, which Steele grateful collected. Then we saw a great chance go begging when Harry Kane set up Feeney but the speedy winger blasted over with the goal at his mercy. But it was all positive stuff as we made a mockery of the league positions. We just looked so in control and the passing and movement was really a joy to watch. We really did dominate this game and at no time did we look like capitulating.
We should have grabbed a third goal when Bouazza and Trotter combined to break out of our half and simply waltzed through the Barnsley defence but Trotter’s shot lacked any real venom and it was comfortably saved by Steele. Bouazza was not really firing on all cylinders, it has to be said and his wandering around the pitch was quite distracting at times. I don’t know if he has been told by Mr Jackett to play like this but one thing is for sure, he don’t seem to like playing on the wings. James Henry, who at least understands the concept of playing as a winger, replaced him just after the hour mark. Henderson and Kane were proving to be a real handful for the over worked Barnsley rear guard and Kane was next up to have a go for a third Millwall goal. Feeney picked out a lovely pass that beat the pathetic off side trap and saw Kane bearing down on goal but the young loanee had a rush of blood to his head and when it called for a bit of composure he was found lacking but he still forced Steele to make a smart save low down. But our wait for a third was ended soon after this as Abdou collected the ball in our half and fed it to Kane who then found Henderson as the move flowed towards the Barnsley goal. Henderson returned the pass and raced for the return but it looked like the Barnsley defender actually played the ball but it went back to Henderson perfectly and the in form striker raced onto it and smacked home his and the Lions third, another hat trick for the big man who celebrated by ripping his shirt off and displaying a physique that looked like it was carved in marble (I think MrsB might have had a ‘special moment’ during this) but referee Adcock wasn’t too impressed and showed him a yellow card. We were totally cruising now and even when the home side managed to somehow score a really soft goal it was never going to affect the outcome. We should have added to the total near the end when Harry Kane again pressed deep into their area and it looked like he was pushed over as he went to strike the ball but the ref waved play on and the chance had gone. The final whistle came and the cheers rang out from the away end as the players took their plaudits with good grace, as I am sure they realise that there is still a lot of hard work ahead to ensure we climb away from the murky depths of relegation.
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    Ta for report.....excellent!