Old friend haunts Reds as Hecky makes '˜keeper call
Paul Heckingbottom insists Barnsley only had themselves to blame after defeat at ten-man Queens Park Rangers.
The Reds suffered a third defeat on the spin and now find themselves just a solitary point above the relegation zone.
Worryingly Heckingbottom’s side have won just once in their last 15 league games and need to turn that torrid form around if they are to secure their Championship status.
Former Red Josh Scowen came back to haunt Barnsley with the only goal of the game after 48 minutes.
Heckingbottom said: “Performance wise I thought we should have got something out of the game, but you know I don’t believe in that.
“We didn’t score when we were on top in the first half.
“We had some good opportunities, some really good chances, and worked the goalkeeper and we should have capitalised on that.
“That’s been our season, we’ve not scored when we’ve been on top and that’s a problem.
“In the only period where we were second best, the first 10-15 minutes of the second half, they score.
“I have to credit QPR because with ten men they defended really well and we threw everything at them.”
The Reds had a whole host of chances but failed to find the back of the net.
Debutant Matt Mills fired over early on after Kieffer Moore headed Adam Hammill’s cross in to his path.
Moore came close to his first Reds goal when he forced a good save from Alex Smithies.
On the stroke of the break Hammill let loose with his effort destined for the top corner, only for Smithies to acrobatically tip the ball wide.
Three minutes after the break Scowen showed the Reds what they are missing with a fine strike.
Ryan Manning was shown red just four minutes after coming on for a bad challenge on Mills.
The Reds upped the pressure but just could not find an equaliser.
George Moncur came closest when his late effort was blocked on the line.
Davies’ run comes to an end
Heckingbottom surprised fans by ousting under-fire shot-stopper Adam Davies for Nick Townsend.
Despite his poor form, everybody expected Davies to extend his tally for consecutive appearances beyond 122.
Townsend was rarely troubled in the opening 45 minutes and there was nothing he could have done to keep out Scowen’s 25-yard strike.
He made a top one-on-one save to keep it to just one late on when Conor Washington was rushing through on goal.
On the change in ‘keeper, Heckingbottom admitted: “It’s a strange one. Ever since I’ve been in charge Davo has been the keeper.
“I felt it was time for Nick to come in to the side.
“I spoke to both players about it and I think in all honesty if I hadn’t worked with both players for so long and a new manager came in and took performances this season and training into account then Nick would have got his chance a lot sooner.
“He’s had to cope with that and as I’ve said this season in training he’s been fantastic.”
Barnsley need a win
There’s no shying away from the fact that Barnsley need a win and fast.
Their last victory came on New Year’s Day when they beat Sunderland, but they have yielded just one point since then.
Heckingbottom brought in six players during the January transfer window in the form of Moore, Dani Pinillos, Conor Mahoney, Christoph Knasmüllner, Mills and Oli McBurnie.
Five of those six, Knasmüllner aside, featured in one way or another at Loftus Road.
And those players, alongside the rest of the squad and Heckingbottom need to turn things around or they will be playing their football in League One next season.
The next four games see the Reds take on other teams in the bottom half and that chunk of games could define whether or not they go down.