Cheltenham Town were comfortably beaten at home by Barnsley to round off a week in which they had three big fixtures in League One, taking four points from a possible nine.
Barnsley were 3-0 up at half time and added one to that in the second half winning 4-0, with little reaction from anyone in Cheltenham red and white.
The loss against former manager Michael Duff’s new side wouldn’t have come as a shock to the supporters but they appeared to feel let down by the manner of the defeat. Boos could be heard around the stadium at full time from the fans who remained.
Cheltenham’s last eight days also saw them take on Accrington (0-0 draw) and Cambridge United (1-2 win). So coming off the back of an important win there was some expectation of a strong showing at home against a tough team.
It wasn’t to be and Barnsley claimed the points without really having to break a sweat, all of their goals were either well worked or incredible finishes which any goalkeeper would struggle with.
After the result Head Coach Wade Elliott said: “They are a good team, they’ve come and performed really well. Sometimes it happens. We do know, unfortunately, the nature of the league, every now and again we are going to get slapped. We had a couple last year, Cambridge and Sunderland. We do know, if we catch a good team, as they are, on a good day, with good players, sometimes we might not be able to live with them and today was one of those days.
“They have good players working hard. We struggled down the hill against the wind, in the first 10 or 15 minutes, we struggled to deal with the intensity and the physicality. They banged in a couple of ‘worldies’ and it’s a very difficult way back from there.
“Once they got their noses in front and then scored a couple of good goals after that, they were obviously on a massive high and had control of the game. We found it difficult from there and they ended up on top.”
The difference in quality and physicality was clear to see from the the first minute. The away side’s quality showed by the fact they scored four of their six attempts on target with the Robins’ goalkeeper making just one save.
In response there was a clear lack of attacking threat. Elliott continued: “At times you have to accept other teams will close off your options. We try to go down the sides, one of two things we worked on that we probably didn’t put into practice. We asked them to go down the sides. It was very difficult first half against the wind. We are not going to hang balls up against Alfie and Charlie, or Alfie and Aidan, against three giant centre-halves, we just weren’t able to implement it well enough. Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition. Good players, working hard and sometimes we might just have to take that on the chin, that’s where we are.
“Michael (Duff) knows better than anyone how tough it is, or how tough it’s going to be. There is a reason why he left. We are here, fronting it up, giving it everything we’ve got to put our best foot forward. Generally, we’ve made, and we are making a decent stab of it. We know there’s going to be tough days and today I’m as disappointed as anybody. But it’s the nature of the beast, every now and then unfortunately we are going up against some good sides and big clubs and we do get slapped. We are here, everyone will stick together, and we’ll come out swinging again on Tuesday.”