Ask any farmer, and he will tell you that the biggest risk to his harvest is not pestilence, but persistent wet weather.

Tonight, Old Mac-Davey must be left scratching his head. He has to figure out how he's going to survive on a crop that looked damaged from previous storms and was left sodden on the Oakwell soil tonight.

From the outset, Cardiff were an athletic force tonight. In every department they were quick, they passed the ball well and threatened Barnsley throughout the first half. It would be fair to say that they were awkward to play around, Cardiff broke down any play that the Reds could muster (of which there was very little), forcing mistakes from the Reds and capturing possession back quickly.

Cardiff's reward came early, on 14 minutes. Peter Whittingham seized on a defensive mistake by Barnsley full back Darren Moore to put the Bluebirds one-up. For the remainder of the first half, Cardiff dominated and it could have been a rout.

Had the plan been to "rope-a-dope" the opposition, you could have been fooled. In the second half, Cardiff did not play with the same intensity and Barnsley had their breaks. But tonight, the Reds were poor. Very few attacks led to any serious pressure on the Cardiff goal.

Man of the Match went to Darren Moore. I was shocked. For me, the only shining light tonight was the returning Jamal Campbell-Ryce. And whilst Jon Macken worked hard, he is bereft of a partner in the less than confident Kayode Odejayi.

The outlook is less than encouraging. There are thunder clouds in the Ponty End. Old Mac-Davey must act quickly, or this crop will rot.

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Ian Wilkinson

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