Barnsley target change of fortunes at Reading

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IT has been a thoroughly miserable week at Oakwell where Barnsley are still awaiting their first victory of the new season.

A goalless draw at Nottingham Forest on the opening day remains the highlight so far in the Tykes’ campaign and since then, they have suffered a shock Carling Cup exit at the hands of Morecambe and two league defeats at home in the last seven days.

Following the cup defeat, manager Keith Hill will have been eager to get back on track but last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Southampton and Tuesday’s 3-1 reverse against Middlesbrough has left Barnsley just one place above the Championship’s relegation zone.

David Connolly’s first-half strike was enough to give table-topping Southampton the points last weekend and leave the Tykes still awaiting their first win, and goal, of the season.

Hill admitted that his troops had failed to perform against Saints and called upon his players to produce a response ahead of the visit of Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening.

There was some early success for the home fans to cheer when their team netted a goal, albeit an own goal from Stephen McManus, with four minutes gone.

However, it went rapidly downhill from there and Scott McDonald headed home Barry Robson’s corner on 11 minutes before Robson put the visitors ahead only two minutes later.

Danny Haynes was denied an equaliser by goalkeeper Carl Ikeme as the hosts looked for a way back into the game but Marvin Emnes bagged Boro’s third and his sixth goal in four games just before the break.

The visitors continued to create the better chances in the second period with Emnes, Julio Arca and McDonald going close and on the final whistle, Hill conceded that Barnsley had been beaten by the better side.

The Tykes boss will be desperate to halt the bad run of results but it doesn’t get any easier for him and his side.

Today, Saturday, they travel to Reading who sustained their first league defeat of the season on Tuesday evening - going down 1-0 at Portsmouth.

Read this week’s Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for more of the latest sports news.