In their Premiership heyday the fans would sing with passion and pride "It's just like watching Brazil". Not any more. Now the Barnsley fans hardly muster a song, a reality check has kicked in and it is like watching a team from South Yorkshire rather than South America. More to the point, they are not even attempting to play like Brazil.
The Barnsley manager, Simon Davey, was at pains afterwards to highlight how many chances his side created and that they had hit the bar and post. Davey spent 12 seasons at Preston and signed the same day as David Beckham but, as then, their paths appear to be going in different directions. One win in seven and only two goals in five games is not pleasant reading and after promotion via the play-offs last season a taxi to League One is beckoning.
Davey is attempting to avert the quick exit with reinforcements and the anticipated arrival of the striker Leon Constantine from Port Vale today will give his side a much needed boost.
The Preston manager, Paul Simpson, on the other hand, has turned to the "forgotten man" to help their promotion push. Michael Ricketts, the former Bolton and England striker, had "fallen out of love with football" and is on a mission.
After leaving Southend in September, Ricketts went to America and, with the help of a personal trainer, got himself "mentally and physically fit". He said: "I want to show people that I am still about." Ricketts showed glimpses of the past as he tried to add to Liam Chilvers' headed goal from a well-worked corner. The jury is still out on whether Barnsley or Ricketts are past redemption.
Goal: Chilvers (55) 0-1.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Colgan; Hassell, P Reid, Atkinson, Eckersley; Togwell (McCann, 65), K Reid, Mattis, Howard; Hayes (Coulson, 65), Nardiello. Substitutes not used: Lucas (gk), Kay, Heckingbottom.
Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Alexander, Chilvers, Wilson, Hill; Sedgwick, McKenna, Davidson (Dichio, 90), Neal; Nugent (Whaley, 84), Ormerod (Ricketts, 73). Substitutes not used: Lonerfan ( gk), Jarrett.
Referee: P Joslin (Nottingham).
Booked: Barnsley Hassell, Howard, Nardiello; Preston North End Hill.
Man of the match: McKenna.
Attendance: 10,810.Reuse content