“Horrific” – Derby County Manager Assesses Barnsley Defeat

Derby County manager Paul Warne branded Barnsley’s match-winning goal as ‘horrific’ as his side lost ground in the race for the League One title.

The Rams travelled to Oakwell in a run of good form, picking up four wins and a draw from their last five outings. As a result, they had kept to within six points of leaders Portsmouth whilst also moving into the automatic promotion places.

Barnsley also harbour ambitions of Championship football next season and are chasing their second-successive play-off appearance, although yesterday’s win has seen them move to within three points of their opponents in second.

The East Midlands outfit got off to the perfect start when Sonny Bradley headed home after 18 minutes, but the hosts drew level through a stunning strike from Adam Phillips. The midfielder then proved to be the matchwinner when he flicked a corner into the far post, although Derby pushed for an equaliser in what proved to be a tense finale for the home crowd.

It can be classed as a missed opportunity for Paul Warne’s side, with Portsmouth dropping points against Charlton Athletic whilst Bolton Wanderers suffered a heavy loss at Blackpool. Speaking after the game, the 50-year-old expressed his disappointment whilst also offering praise to Barnsley:

“It was a disappointing end,” the manager told Derbyshire Live. “In the first half I didn’t think we were at our best. I didn’t think we showed enough character on the ball and credit to Barnsley they are a young side. The oldest player in their team was 29 and he was the goalkeeper.

“They had young athletic players and just came after us. They didn’t give us any time on the ball and if you have less time and don’t pick the pass early on you just give the ball away.

“But apart from a 30-yard screamer my goalkeeper didn’t have much to do. Defensively we were sound, but then you lose something going forward. That’s how it felt.”

Despite that, Warne felt the winning goal was ‘horrific’, and came at a time when he felt his team were starting to gain the momentum:

“Nat (Mendez-Laing) is not a natural nine and he is kindly playing there for us, but we didn’t have any natural rhythm to our game. In the second half we started to look good but they score from a set-piece which is horrific.

“But the lads gave everything they could right until the end. I can’t knock their character. But we didn’t create enough gilt-edged chances. It felt like a playoff game really and I think most people would agree a draw would have possibly been a fair result.”

Derby will look to return to winning ways this week in a pair of home games against seemingly favourable opposition. Relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic visit Pride Park on Tuesday before 22nd-placed Port Vale make the short journey east next weekend.

Writer’s View

Derby did perhaps deserve a point out of this game, but they have been let off the hook by the results of those around them. They will be confident heading into this week’s double-header, although the manager will no doubt be warning his side of complacency.

Everybody expects the Rams to pick up six points this week, but football is a funny game and Charlton in particular may prove to be a challenge following their excellent result at Portsmouth yesterday. Despite their seemingly endless winless run, they are unbeaten in their last three as new boss Nathan Jones chases his first win.

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