After the announcement of Ross Barkley joining us on an initial one month loan on Friday, and the permanent signing of Michael Tonge earlier in the week, I was pleased we seemed to be sorting the places that we were lacking quality in and when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt strangely optimistic. I have no idea why....I've never once seen a Leeds United side win at Oakwell, in fact, we haven't won there since 1997 and as of late, our performances have been nothing short of awful so the optimism confused me but I was glad the faith was there.
Barnsley were going into this game rock bottom of the League Table with David Flitcroft as acting manager after the sacking of Keith Hill just before the turn of the year. In the past week Terry Butcher and Sean O'Driscoll have both turned down the chance to take the reigns at Oakwell.
There were stewards waiting for us as we entered the ground, checking bags etc, one of them asked me if he could check mine, I obliged of course, he then asked me if I had any glass bottles in there, I replied, "Yes, and fireworks and knives" I laughed....He didn't.
Paddy Kenny was back in the team after being sidelined for the FA Cup game against Birmingham the week before, and it was all change in other parts of the pitch too, Byram, Peltier, Barkley, Austin, Tonge and Diouf all started for Leeds United.
Barnsley held a minutes applause before the game kicked off to pay respects to Soldier, Richard Walker who was killed while on duty in Afghanistan earlier this week. Both sets of fans and players, stood and applauded and chants of 'Yorkshire' rang around Oakwell in what was a fitting tribute.
The game didn't begin well at all, Jim O'Brien went very close to scoring in the first minute but his shot was saved by Kenny, Tate had to react in orderer to block another shot by O'Brien seconds later.
Luciano Becchio saw his headed effort go right of the target on the 6th minute of play. Just a minute later though and O'Brien had another shot on goal, this time however it was too high.
Barnsley were having the better of the chances, on the 12th minute of play Paddy Kenny saved a shot from Stephen Dawson and Marlon Harewood's shot came back off of the post. At this point, we could have been forgiven for thinking, this was going to be another one of those days, we looked up against it and with every shot Barnsley had, the fans were getting more and more frustrated.
Micheal Tonge had a chance on the 26th minute but, again, it was wide of the goal.
Lee Peltier and Jim O'Brien were involved in a tackle just after the half hour mark which saw O'Brien stay down, injured. He looked in agony and the paramedics soon stretchered him off the pitch, both sets of fans applauded him, he acknowledged the Leeds fans and clapped as he went down the tunnel to receive treatment. He was replaced by Jacob Mellis.
Chris Dagnall's shot on the 40th minute was wide right of the goal mouth.
When half time came, we couldn't help but wonder how on earth it was 0 - 0, a chorus of boo's met Warnock and the players as they walked off into the dressing room. We'd not had a shot on target but Barnsley were really making Paddy Kenny work.
Warnock made two substitutions at half time bringing on Ross McCormack for El-Hadji Diouf and Paul Green for David Norris. This seemed to give us a boost in the opening 10 minutes or so and we began to play football, not hoofball. Ross Barkley tried his luck from outside the penalty area on the 48th minute but it was off target. Barkley almost scored again when strong strike of his, hit the crossbar.
It wasn't long until we went resorted back to the long ball though and 62 minutes in, Sam Byram bought down Chris Dagnall inside the box, it was a stonewall penalty and Dagnall made it 1 - 0. The way we were playing, this felt like they'd just scored their 8th, they were full of confidence and had the wind in their sails. 3 Minutes later and Dagnall doubled Barnsley's lead. Immediately the vast majority of travelling fans began to call for Warnock's head. We looked clueless and Barnsley were making us look amateur.
Both Barkley and McCormack had chances to score before the end of the game but they were off target. So 2 - 0 it finished. Becchio was first off the pitch, he looked up and clapped, we clapped back, McCormack & Barkley also got a good reaction from the crowd....However....Warnock didn't, he was met with 4,800 angry Leeds United fans. Chants of 'time to go' - 'we're sh*t and we're sick of it' and 'what the f*ck is going on' along with loud booing and 'we want our money back'.
I left this match feeling like I've never felt at any Leeds United game I've ever been to in my life. Like I'd just been kicked in the stomach, but I was angry with it. It wasn't the fact that we lost, no, in fairness, we always lose at Oakwell, but this, this was different. We all know we've not been playing good football of late, even when we've won it's been scrappy and we've not played well.
We all got back on the coach and waited to see what Neil Warnock had to say about this....First of all, he blamed the referee, saying Dawson should have been sent off for a tackle he made on Ross McCormack, he went as far as to take a replay into his interviews with the press to prove his point.
He then went on to say that Luciano Becchio's head wasn't in the game, apparently he's had his head turned by agents and he'll be having words with him later.
I don't even know where to begin with this, there was no talk of the way he's playing people out of position, his negative tactics and there was no virus to blame it on this week either. Don't get me wrong here, the players aren't faultless but, I personally think it's time to look beyond this now, I think it's time to look at the manager and the coaching staff.
I have absolutely no idea why we continue with playing the long ball up to Becchio when we know full well that doesn't work. I am sick to death of it now, I don't pay good money to see the ball in the air and the fact is, we play better when it is on the floor!!
The way Warnock spoke about Becchio caused a stir too. It sounds like we are about to lose not only our top scorer, but the current longest serving player in the club. This makes me feel sick. I thought times had changed?! I'm not going to lie, I will be devastated if he leaves.
We didn't have one shot on target. We didn't have one corner. We never stood a chance and again at 2 - 0 down with plenty of time left, we looked to concede ourselves to defeat, how much more of this can we take!?
Birmingham next up in the FA Cup Round 3 Replay at St Andrews.
Be sure to comment below and let me know your thoughts.
MOT xx <3 xx