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Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
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Taking the Mick: Barnsley Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 29/02/2004

A cold, sleety, snowy afternoon in the winter wonderland, with around 1,500 or so Barnsleyites expecting their usual levels of satisfaction after a daytrip to the seaside.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Barnsley (h)

Grimsby Town 6 Barnsley 1
28 Feb 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

The pitch looked delicate, with splodges of brown evident, and a circle of sand underneath the Findus/Stones/Smiths stand near the half way line. So the pitch matched the Town fans’ state of mind then. You could tell how brittle they felt for there was just one burst of a cappella unpleasantries towards the summer swingers from South Yorkshire.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, as shown. Mmm, still no Edwards then and young Pettinger in goal. A slight lad with a jersey that looked a size too big for him, the afternoon that spread before us was filled with dark portents. Fear is the key.

Barnsley lined up with only Handyside, looking rather porky these days, of their ex-Town players in the starting line up. Galliless and with the little chap with hippy hair on the subs bench. As the Pontoon pondered aloud "Who is Michael Boulding?". Or maybe "What is Michael Boulding?". As he has rapidly found out, the manner of one’s leaving is the mark of a man. They had a few big blokes on the field, with Betsy and Rocastle being Crane-like, in height if not around the hips.

1st half

Barnsley kicked off towards the Pontoon and were rather sprightly for the first minute or so. A few passes here, some running around there and, as you’d expect with a debutant goalie, they hoofed a big loopy cross in as early as possible. Pettinger dropped it as two Tykes challenged. A fortuitous free kick resulted. Knowing and worried looks were exchanged amongst the Town faithful, as a few throats gulped. Whoops, it’s going to be one of those days. Again.

Or is it? Up Town swept to the angel of the north, Jevons, gliding across the earth, mesmerising all, a faint glow emanating from his boots. Handyside was forced to trip him 25 yards out on the Town right. Jevons lined up a right footed curler, Barnard a left footed whacker. The waddler waddled, the ball wobbled, Beresford wibbled as the ball zipped into his ageing stomach as he dived to his right. Hey, you know, this ain’t as bad as we thought. Rankin was certainly up for the fight and Thorpe was interestingly mobile and cute in his flicking. And then there was the resurrected one, the subject of a reverential banner in the open corner between Pontoon and Main Stand. "Jevvo" is the new Eric Clapton, apparently. Would he get Barnsley on its knees now honey?

Ah, stop getting carried away by a fleeting moment of hope, of skill, it’s a mirage. After about five minutes Barnsley ripped Town apart down the centre left. A tip, a tap, Nardiello, slinked and jinked through. Into the area, drifting wide of the goal and thwacking a shot at Pettinger, stood against the near post, who parried the ball aside for a corner. A decent save, and the Pontoon overly ovated like a pregnant duck. This was more like it, this is what we’re used to. The comfort of disappointment. The crowd were curiously silent, like they were awaiting bad news. And that was the whole crowd, for the Barnsley supporters were similarly worried by sheep. It all meant a rather strange atmosphere, who was more scared?

C’mon lighten up. A dozen minutes gone, Thorpe daintily turning, impressively passing to Jevons on the right. Thorpe ghosted away into the Humber mist and Jevons twisted, turned and chipped a brilliant little pass diagonally over the defence. Thorpe bounded on and, about 15 yards out to the right of goal, attempted to lift the ball over the onrushing Beresford. Surprisingly, given Beresford’s record of achievement at Blundell Park, a good blocking save was made, darn it.

Cranered card


Parker42 mins
Hamilton45 mins
Young58 mins


Mark Halsey


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The report continues in Part Two.

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