Has there ever been an uglier goalscorer against us than Blackburn’s Tuesday night hero, Nuno Gomes? After a battling performance where Barnsley proved a match for one of the Championship’s title chasers, the Portuguese pensioner popped up to net a winner just five minutes from time.
It may sound bitter to condemn this former international great of being nothing more than an ugly face, but that is what many Tykes will have been thinking, as Gomes ran away in celebration at Ewood Park.
The bitterness comes not in the 2-1 loss or the late timing of Gomes’ winner, but the fact that we played so well for much of the game. This was our fifth successive away defeat, yet the game played out as though we were top of the table, not Blackburn.
Rovers, a long-lost fixture of the Champions League betting, have a midfield that played full Premier League campaigns last season, yet we dominated the centre of the pitch.
Manager, Keith Hill, bemoaned our budget after the defeat and it is clear we were never meant to challenge mega-rich Rovers on Tuesday. Hill should be proud the lads dominated for long periods and only fell short when Blackburn brought on three fresh signings that we could never attract.
Our finishing was off all game, yet former Chelsea and Southampton man, Jacob Mellis, nicked his second of the season in clinical fashion, and we looked comfortable heading into the break before £8m new signing, Jordan Rhodes, levelled for the home side.
There is no way Barnsley could spend £8m on one player, nor could we afford the wages former internationals like Gomes no doubt demand. Instead, Hill is left to eke out a squad capable of sustaining itself in a cutthroat league and was desperately close to a major scalp on Tuesday.
There are reasons to be confident this season for Tykes fans, and although watching Gomes’ face crack with delight was a bitter pill to swallow, we can take solace in our ability to hold our own against one of the Championship’s strongest sides.