Barnsley have enjoyed great success over Leeds since they returned to the Championship, having played out a fantastic 5-2 drubbing at Oakwell last September, a 2-2 draw at Elland Road in the latter half of last season, followed by an impressive 2-1 win just a matter of weeks ago. The Reds were looking to go 6 unbeaten against Leeds earlier when they pitched up at Oakwell, with both sides having not won in their last 3, Barnsley with 3 losses, Leeds having gained a point away at Watford.

Tactically speaking
Barnsley made 3 changes to the side that played out the 3-1 loss to Blackpool at Oakwell on Boxing Day, with Bobby Hassell, Stephen Foster and Miles Addison coming in for Jim O’Brien, Rob Edwards and Ricardo Vaz Te.

The Reds lined up in their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, with Hassell, Foster, McNulty and McEvely at the back, anchormen Miles Addison and David Perkins, with Scott Wiseman, Jacob Butterfield and Matt Done supporting Craig Davies in attack. The team sheet came as a surprise to many, who had perhaps expected Jim O’Brien to play, who dropped out of the squad due to injury, and Scott Wiseman was deployed on the wing despite being a natural right back, evidently to provide cover to Bobby Hassell.

Within 15 minutes Jacob Butterfield was substituted for Ricardo Vaz Te, following a crunching challenge from Michael Brown early in the game, changing the emphasis slightly, with Done and Vaz Te continually rotating between the central and wide left positions.

Leeds lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, and were without talismanic winger Robert Snodgrass following an operation on his appendix, as well as captain Jonny Howson. Ramon Nunez and Mika Vayrynen came in for them. Leeds’ tactics hardly endeared themselves to the Oakwell faithful, with chants of ‘same old Leeds scum always cheating’ reverberating around the terraces perhaps summing up the whites’ game plan, which allowed them to injure Barnsley skipper Jacob Butterfield in the early stages, aswell as hold on to Craig Davies for the majority of the game.

Action Report
The first 15 minutes got off to a scrappy start with Leeds appearing to use every opportunity available to have a pop at Jacob Butterfield, with the ball seeing a lot of time in the air. Both sides were nibbling at each other trying to find ways into the game, with hoofed clearances from Leeds continually finding the head of Miles Addison in the middle of the park. Barnsley also played the opening sequences in an uncharacteristic manner, playing a few long balls looking for the head of Craig Davies who continued to be held by Leeds captain Paddy Kisnorbo throughout the game. The 15th minute saw the withdrawal of Jacob Butterfield, who following Michael Brown’s challenge had played tentatively. On came Ricardo Vaz Te, who just loves making an impact.

Within 2 minutes of coming on, a Reds counter attack found Craig Davies outside the penalty area. Following some hustling and bustling, the ref waved advantage when the ball came to Vaz Te, and the Portuguese forward needed no second invitation. 1-0 Barnsley.

Leeds continued to pop at the Reds, earning 2 yellow cards around the half hour period, with Vayrynen and O’Dea receving yellow cards for unsporting conduct. Miles Addison and Perkin continued to provide good cover in the middle of the park, with the head of Addison in particular continuing to keep Leeds in their own half. Leeds perhaps created a couple of half opportunities with Ramon Nunez getting several shots away, although it would have taken a serious mistake from Luke Steele for any of them to have found the net.

The second half came, and determined not to let the lead slip like the previous 2 home games, the Reds came out in a determined and dogged manner. Barnsley pushed up early and were awarded with several freekicks and corners. It would take but 5 minutes for the Reds to double their lead, when a Matt Done corner was partially cleared only to find the feet of Ricardo Vaz Te, who smashed home the Reds’ second.

Simon Grayson had seen enough and decided to make a double substitution, with Luciano Becchio replacing Andrew Keogh, who’d had a quiet game, aswell as Adam Clayton replacing Mika Vayrynen, who was at serious risk of earning a second booking.

From that point on it was just too easy for Barnsley, who dominated possession through Perkins and Addison, continually bringing Matt Done and Ricardo Vaz Te into play as they rotated on the left flank. Wiseman also continued to have impressive runs at the defence, perhaps lacking the final ball on one or two occasions.

10 minutes after the last goal, it was the turn of Craig Davies to get in on the spoils when he was finally found unmarked, the ball dropped to him to the left of the goal, and the striker picked his spot perfectly for the ball to sail into the top corner, with Whites’ keeper Andy Lonergan left with no chance of saving it. The scoreline signaled enough for many Leeds fans, who began to make their way out of the stadium.

Following the 3rd goal the Reds well and truly turned on the style, racking up a final stat of 56% possession. Addison and Perkins were dominant throughout, giving the Reds a defence tighter than Fort Knox. The early New Year celebrations weren’t to end there though, with guess who, Ricardo Vaz Te hitting a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal in the 72nd minute, a hat-trick from what Keith Hill would surely love to claim was an inspired substitution.

Leeds clawed one back with Luciano Becchio heading home from a late free kick, but it was merely a consolation to save the total embarrassment of the strong travelling away support. Final score, Barnsley 4 – 1 Leeds.

Player-by-Player Review
Luke Steele – 8 – He earned the sponsor’s Man of the Match award, perhaps to the surprise of many at Oakwell, with the obvious choice being the superb hat-trick of Ricardo Vaz Te. Nonetheless Steele has performed magnificently at times this season, and most certainly deserved a clean sheet today, which he was unlucky not to get. The stopper pulled off some great saves, which perhaps could have changed the game on another day

Bobby Hassell (C) – 8 - Beaten for pace on occasion by Nunez, but epitomized the spirit of this Barnsley side with his determination to get back, and occasionally run forward. His tackling was superb, and surely has to earn him a start next week.

Stephen Foster – 7 – Didn’t have much to do, but did it well. Won every header and made tackles when he needed to. Another solid performance that we’ve come to expect this season from the defender.

Jim McNulty – 6 – Perhaps the weakest of performers today, which does appear to be quite a harsh accolade in a fantastic team performance. He defended well, but let himself down with a couple of sloppy passes which might have let Leeds in. His worst game for a while, but certainly not particularly poor overall.

Jay McEvely – 8 – Defended well and got forward well, linking up in impressive fashion with Vaz Te and Done on several occasions. Particularly impressive was his tracking of McCormack, with signs of McEvely starting to be comfortable with ditching the rigid left back position and coming to his man, allowing him not to get past.

Miles Addison – 10 – Did everything that he should have done today. The key to Addison’s performance was playing to his strengths and allowing others to play to theirs. Not one header went past him in the midfield and his superb tackling ability, both when standing and sliding continued to break up play, with simple passing bringing the more creative players into the game. His performance gave all around him confidence, and he was key to the performance today.

David Perkins – 9 – Worked incredibly well with Addison, also breaking up play and working well with others. Like an efficient engine, he continues to run and run for the 90 minutes, and even began to look confident running forward today, linking up with the frontline well when the opportunity arose.

Scott Wiseman – 7 – Scott has a lot of pace, which certainly helped out defensively with his wing partner Bobby Hassell. He continued to make threatening forward runs, but perhaps lacked a bit of a killer final ball, although that would be understandable considered he has been brought up a defender. Today’s performance however showed just how versatile the player can be.

Matt Done – 7 – Left Paul Connolly at right back for dead on several occasions today with his blistering pace. Does perhaps needs to improve on his shooting, but managed to play several killer balls to Davies, who having not been held for 90 minutes might have capitalized further.

Ricardo Vaz Te – 10 – Although not in the starting line-up it appears only appropriate given that Butterfield was subbed off so early. Vaz Te had a barnstormer of a performance and continued to create opportunities for himself and others around him. Aswell as going forward, he occasionally provided help to Jay McEvely defensively which was surely appreciated by the left back. His hat trick was taken superbly, and the Reds have perhaps found themselves a true bargain, who looked composed and creative throughout.

Craig Davies – 8 - Was unlucky not to truly get into the game thanks to Kisnorbo man handling him for the majority of the fixture, however played incredibly well with his back to goal, allowing Ricardo Vaz Te to get into the game. Thanks to his perseverance the Reds were able to get off the mark, and when the opportunity fell to him later in the game, he took it well. More to come I predict from this fantastic summer signing..

Subs – Butterfield subbed OFF early for Vaz Te (N/A), Gray ON for Done (7)
Unused- Preece, Edwards, Noble-Lazarus

Andy Lonergan – 7 – Made a few decent saves, but conceded 4, although his responsibility in those 4 is questionable.

Paul Connolly – 5- Beaten for pace every time, had a nightmare.

Darren O’Dea – 6 – Got booked for unsporting conduct, which summed up his game.

Patrick Kisnorbo (C) – 7 –Did what he had to do well and kept Davies quiet for the majority of the game, also provided some aerial threat from set pieces.

Mika Vayrynen – 5 – Questionable contribution at best. Didn’t appear to offer anything offensively or defensively.

Michael Brown – 4 – Did nothing to change his reputation as a dirty player.

Danny Pugh – 6 – Managed to bring in Nunez on a few occasions.

Ramon Nunez – 7 – Threatened with a few shots and has some decent wing play. Was let down by the rest of his team who were unable to get into the box.

McCormack – 6 – Kept quiet all game by McEvely.

Keogh – 3 – Zero contribution, subbed after the second goal.

Subs: Clayton for Vayrynen (6), Becchio for Keogh (6)

Man of the Match – For me it’s joint between Vaz Te and Addison. You have to give credit to Vaz Te for a magnificent hat trick but much of the performance pinned on Addison bossing the middle of the park, giving the defence a lot of confidence within the game. After a tough loan spell at Oakwell, with a few early season jeers aimed at him, in one single performance he might have earned an extension to his loan spell, in what was a quality team performance all round.

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Anonymous said...

well played Barnsley
Simon Grayson concentrated on how bad Leeds were, but credit to Barnsley, I watched them capitulate to Ipswich the other week, So it was a good performance. Former Leeds favourite Eddie Gray said it should have been 7, Dickie Bird said Leeds were awful.
Good luck to Barnsley for the rest of the season
Back to the drawing board for SG

Anonymous said...

‘same old Leeds scum always cheating’ reverberating around the terraces perhaps summing up the whites’ game plan, which allowed them to injure Barnsley skipper Jacob Butterfield in the early stages