The BOBcat Digital Big Match Report Barnsley

This review is later than normal for the simple reason that the magnitude of yesterday took a while to sink in.

Composure now regained, mental health gradually recovering after what I’ve got to say was an afternoon of emotional highs and lows but a fairly decent night’s sleep all things considered let’s try and cover the events of yesterday.

The build up couldn’t been faulted. The fans village 2.0 in its new location outside gate 7 was well received with more vendors and variety and someone had kindly ordered sunshine and warmth for the final home fixture of the season.

Jacko made a couple of changes from Fleetwood with Jules dropping to the bench for Conor Grant, and Henry Lawrence replaced by Max Dean on the bench.

The Dons started positively, The Cowshed were in good voice and we took the game to the visitors who were secure in 4th place in the table.

The opening 15 minutes saw a couple of half chances without a serious threat on goal from Eisa, but fans were encouraged and the volume from the terraces went up a notch, which was just what we needed.

Kaikai then pushed down the right and his low hard cross flashed across the Tykes goal but noone was there to prod it home, Eisa just being too far away to get it.

This set back was not game-changing, and the Dons kept pushing forward, growing in confidence, and on 25 minutes, the Dons thought O’Horas towering header had given them the lead, but a goal line clearance kept the scores level.

Barnsley had looked lively in patches, but despite that they had no finish then on the half hour after a flurry of activity where the ball was flying across our goal, a save then a block, the ball was driven back in through a crowded box past Cumming. 0-1

The Dons needed a response, and to ensure at worst, they only went in one down. They managed both and finished the half the more disappointed, but there were signs this was not over.

The home fans were hoping there would be more attacking potency to the Dons in the second half. We simply had no idea what was to follow.

Before a lot of fans had even returned to their seats (joys of that concourse) Eisa had won a penalty, now in my book it was the softest non penalty ever, do you think I cared? He stroked the kick into the bottom right of the net. Level terms 1-1.

The home fans were jubilant, and almost immediately before we regained our collective breath, Jonathan Leko had put the Dons ahead. Paris put Sullay in, and his ball across the goal left Leko with the simple task of tapping it in. 2-1

Eisa’s second, and in my opinion, the goal of the season was all down to Paris Maghoma. He did what we wanted him to do. He got the ball and just ran. First, it was about pace and determination, then it was about strength and trickery as he took the ball round what felt like half the opposition. Tiring, his last bit of energy was used to find Mo. He sorted his feet, looked up and the ball sailed over the keeper and into the top corner. 3-1. Wow. This was Dons of last season.

That wasn’t it, though, was it? With the fancy dressed Barnsley fans looking confused, their players dazed, and probably most of the home support thinking was it the first or last days if April?

We were beyond catching our breath by now and then up pops Warren O’Hora. Having a header cleared off the line before the break, he went one better. Corners had been a disappointing part of the season, but a perfectly flighted ball, Woz announced his return home after a long lay-off with a little stooping, glancing flick off his head. 4-1 …I know FOUR!

Not since Morecambe away in August had we scored four. This was unbelievable. The Dons actually looked capable of a giant stride to safety. Ahhh but there’s that word again. Dons.

Dons do Dons things is the saying and we were about to get the most Donsie possible to the utter dismay and frustration possible.

Max Watters came on just before the fourth goal, and football law dictates a returning player has to inflict damage on his former club. We just didn’t realise how much.

Watters came on in the 66th minute. Inside six minutes, he’d assisted a goal, linking well in a slick passing move inside our box. 4-2

He then went on a one man mission to remind us what he did for us. Two minutes after creating, he scored himself as panic reigned inside our box. 4-3

The home fans prayed for calm, clarity, and yes, even sanity in our defence, but no, Barnsley and Watters in particular weren’t going to allow that, as inside 20 minutes of being on the field and just 13 minutes from their second goal, he scored his second and the Barnsley fourth to level at 4-4.

Our afternoon, day, and potentially season had crumbled before our very eyes. I wasn’t overly surprised at our capitulation. We’ve had it in us all season to throwaway winning positions. It was the disappointment that we let it happen again and we appear unable to prevent it happening time after time.

It’s kinda of understandable even the lap of appreciation didn’t work. It ironically summed up the season. A disjointed and dysfunctional family unit. That’s us too a tee this campaign.

From the high of last season to this. Look at Plymouth. They took that and built on it to win promotion, possibly the title. Channelling the disappointment and hurt. We are as far from that as we are geographically from Plymouth itself.

We need a long, hard look at ourselves. What do we want to be? Where are we actually as a club? How do we unite and channel our strengths and resources in the best way to take this club forward?

In this vein, I am requesting a conference between the club, its supporters board, the MKDSA and Dons Action as soon as the dust settles on the season. To see what can be done. We need clarity and understanding. Trust and belief are at an all-time low.

We potentially have one last opportunity to save our League One status. Depending on the result of Burton v Cambridge on Wednesday night, the same night as the Club Awards event, we may still have it in our own hands to control our destiny.

Either way, all we can do is win it. But that’s what we all want. So get there if you can, and give the team your best 90 minutes.

It’s all so Donsish ….see you in Burton.

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