Barnsley 3 Leeds United 2: Spectre of relegation forces Wise to promise new faces

Click to follow
The Independent Football

According to Dennis Wise, the Leeds United manager, the away dressing room at Oakwell was a quiet and despondent place at five o'clock on Saturday afternoon. And well it might have been. Having dominated the first half and established a lead, Wise's new side disintegrated in the face of Barnsley's sheer enthusiasm and looked like losing well before Brian Howard's winner with 14 minutes left.

What must be galling for Wise is that his arrival has not imbued his squad with the kind of rugged and competitive qualities that used to characterise the manager's own style of play. Nasty Leeds? At the moment, they are the softest touch in the Championship.

The West Yorkshire side are now second bottom and in danger of following the likes of Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday into the third tier.

"We know it's a relegation dogfight at the moment," Wise said. Asked whether he thought his players were responding in the way he desires, Wise said: "No. Too many players think their place in the team is secure.

"They are very low in confidence and we need to bring some new faces in to give everyone a lift. There will be some transfer movement in the near future."

Wise's priority is likely to be an injection of athleticism into a side with plenty of talent but little in the way of determination. That was apparent from the way they capitulated once the outstanding Martin McIndoe had equalised for Barnsley after an hour. Goals from Shaun Derry and the wily Robbie Blake had put Leeds in control after Martin Devaney's opener.

It came as little surprise when Howard curled home the winner to take his side out of the bottom three. "I hope Leeds climb the League just behind us," said Andy Ritchie, the Barnsley manager, who has both played for and coached at Leeds.

Goals: Devaney (30) 1-0; Derry (44) 1-1; Blake (45) 1-2; McIndoe (62) 2-2; Howard (76) 3-2.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Colgan; Austin, Reid, Kay, Heckingbottom; Devaney, Togwell, Howard (Wroe, 80), McIndoe; Wright (Hayes, 89), Richards (Nardiello, 55). Substitutes not used: C Healy, Williams.

Leeds United (4-3-1-2): Stack; Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Lewis; Douglas (Einarsson, 88), Derry, Westlake (Johnson, 80); Blake; Healy, Horsfield (Cresswell, 62). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Foxe.

Referee: P Crossley (Kent).

Booked: Barnsley Reid, Kay, Wright, Devaney; Leeds Douglas, Healy.

Man of the match: McIndoe.

Attendance: 16,943.