Millwall 4 Barnsley 1: Threadbare Reds get Cup mauling from Lions
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom couldn't hide his frustration after his side were thumped 4-1 at Championship rivals Millwall in the FA Cup third round.
Brad Potts fired the visitors into an early lead, but the Reds were ultimately dispatched clinically, on a day when they also saw Joe Williams deservedly sent off.
“We weren’t good enough again,” admitted Heckingbottom after a bad day at the office.
“Although it was 1-1 at half-time, I did feel we’d missed an opportunity and I saw signs that we weren’t really defending properly.
“The second goal was a clear indication of that, and then the sending-off obviously puts us on the back foot.
“I am really disappointed. However, the saving grace is that there weren’t three points on the line.
“Too many players were playing off the cuff and trying to do things that they want.
“We’re not that type of team. If we want to compete at this level, we’ve got to play like a team, believe like a team and everybody has to carry out their role.
“All the goals could have been prevented, so it’s a reminder to everyone
Prospects looked rosy early on when Brad Potts smashed home to give the Reds an 11th minute lead.
Tom Bradshaw and Dimitri Cavare then missed very presentable opportunities to stretch the lead.
However, the Lions roared back to level matters before the break thanks to Aiden O’Brien’s first of a brace.
O’Brien teed up Ben Thompson shortly after the restart, and the Reds were behind.
They were further hampered when Joe Williams was correctly red-carded following a dreadful late tackle on Jed Wallace.
Four minutes later O’Brien curled in to make it 3-1.
Fred Onyedinma neatly chipped Adam Davies to wrap up a big win for the Londoners.
Reds need more men
Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom looks set for a busy week as he bids to add new faces to a threadbare-looking squad.
Having lost loanees Harvey Barnes and Ike Ugbo, and now that Joe Williams will be out for three games through suspension, options are becoming limited ahead of some crucial Championship fixtures during the next few weeks.
Heckingbottom admitted: “We’ve got two first-team forwards at the club and two fit wingers, and that’s it.
“We had four under-23s in Saturday’s squad, and that’s all we’ve got available.
“It’s not me trying to make a point or anything, that’s the players that we’re down to.
“There’s lots of players we’re looking at, so hopefully something will happen this week.
“It’s a real priority at the moment, particularly with three tough games coming up. We need players in.”
Back to survival battle
The Reds’ FA Cup hopes are dashed for another year and so it’s back to the fight for Championship survival.
And Paul Heckingbottom’s men will have a fight on their hands as they bid to wrestle back some much-needed league form.
The win at Sunderland in their last league outing will have significantly boosted morale in the camp, but after Saturday’s Cup humbling it’s hard graft that will be high on the agenda on the training pitch this week.
That’s because it’s Wolves next up for the Reds.
The runaway Championship leaders head to Oakwell on Saturday in seemingly unstoppable form.
Boss Heckingbottom might settle for a point against a side who look destined for a return to the Premier League already, but surely it’s more about making a point as a team.
The hard work does start now in many ways. With no cup distractions the focus can now be solely on maintaining that cherished position in the second tier.