Report: Barnsley 4-1 Swindon Town

Lucy Gray reports on a miserable afternoon in South Yorkshire as Town suffered a first away League One defeat of the season…

Barnsley weren’t very good.

It seems strange to say that after watching a team win 4-1 and Tykes fans stumbling across this match report will point to the inevitable bitterness of its author after such a comprehensive thumping. But I don’t care. The Tykes were a shade below mediocre. Swindon, as it happens, were much, much worse.

There are times when you travel 180 miles, sit in an away end and come to realise that it’s just not going to be your day. Usually you carry those sentiments up on your travels – by coach, car or train. The opposition are better, the gods are against you, this is your bogey team after all; it’s just not going to happen.

No one in the Town end on Saturday seemed to be thinking that way just prior to kick-off, however. Nor were they thinking that as Lewin Nyatanga auditioned for ‘blooper of the year’ to put Swindon in front within 20 minutes. Everything seemed to be going to plan, even if Nathan, Nathan, Nathan, Nathan, Nathan, Nathan, Nathan Thompson was injured again and his little brother was sat on the bench.

In fact, the atmosphere verged on optimistic. How long have we all been Town fans? We should know better.

Having somehow got away with not conceding within seconds of the restart, with the Swindon back four doing a drunken hokey cokey as Barnsley pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Marley Watkins suddenly found himself all alone and running straight through on goal as Town attempted the kind of offside trap which would wake Tony Adams up in a cold sweat.

As the half went on, it slowly dawned on those who’d made the trip to Yorkshire that this was going to be an afternoon better spent in the pub. Or down the supermarket. Or mopping up the aftermath of the cat finding its way into the cheese draw.

Reece Wabara cannoned in a 25-yard drive just before half-time – “never a good time to concede,” of course – and Barnsley led at the break.

Swindon had tapered off from not too bad to pretty poor in the first 45 minutes. The speed of the slide downhill after the interval would have rivalled Lizzie Yarnold for a Winter Games gold.

Nyatanga made amends for his early gaffe by heading, or at least shouldering, home a right-wing cross and, as Town fluffed their lines with alarming regularity at the other end, the visitors’ back four decided to run like crabs as Josh Scowen entered the box, hit the bar and Conor Hourihane followed up.

It was miserable. So miserable in fact that the heavens started crying late on in some sort of acute pathetic fallacy which could have come straight out of a Dickens novel.

A Dickens novel; that would have been another better way of spending this particular Saturday afternoon.

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