Barnsley Head Coach Lee Johnson gave his thoughts after an entertaining first-leg tie at Oakwell, against Fleetwood.
The first half was relatively quiet, but the second half saw two goals and end to end stuff, to set up a second leg at Highbury that everyone will be eagerly anticipating.
“It’s an okay result.” Explained Johnson. “It’s half time and we know that, but it’s a better result having been 1-0 down. If I was to analyse the performance I would say the first half we didn’t do enough.
“Second half we were able to get some good tactical advice in during half time, and second half we were in the ascendency. We were unlucky to go behind, they can count themselves lucky not to
have anyone sent off as well.”
Ryan Williams had some chances today to put the Reds ahead, but he couldn’t take them, but Johnson explained his feelings about that.
“I don’t mind anyone missing chances because they’re in there to miss them. Ryan got in good areas, on another day he could have had a hat-trick. I was most disappointed in his reaction, he spent 30 seconds on the floor banging his head into the ground. I don’t mind mistakes but they must react quickly to it.”
After Ben Pearson leaving and Josh Scowen still being out injured, another academy product Brad Abbott was given his chance today in the starting line-up.
“I have to say I thought Brad was fantastic.” Emphasised Johnson. “He’s only been training with the first team for four weeks properly. We thought this situation might arise, he took his opportunity and I have nothing but praise for him.
“We contemplated other options but we felt he deserved his chance. To take Pearson out of the team, a player who’s so influential and for Brad to come in and play like that I’m really pleased.”
Ashley Fletcher had a debut to remember in today after joining on loan from Manchester United in mid-week, and the Reds Head Coach wanted to praise him as well.
“We thought about starting him (Fletcher) but Ryan (Williams) had been chomping at the bit and Fletch had been in a day, he didn’t even know everyone’s name today. If you bombard them with too much information too early it can have a negative affect and take away from the game.
“We told him he’d go on with 20 mins to go and the lads gave him a big round of applause for his first senior goal, he’s walking around with a smile like a Cheshire cat. It was a great header. I see good movement and a great header, but it was horrid to watch because it took too long to get over the line!”
Johnson does admit he’s trying to get new faces in, and gave us an update on that.
“If we don’t sign anyone we’ve got two top players coming back for the next leg, Marley Watkins and Josh Scowen! I’m sure we will add one or two by then though.
“Reece Wabara is 80/20 against him staying. We’re trying to do something with him, but he’s had a decent offer from a club higher up in the division.”
Finally, Johnson gave his thoughts on the second leg away at Fleetwood in a few week’s time.
“I’m positive about the second leg, our fans have been brilliant today and away we’ll probably have as many as them, they’ve been superb away as well.
“I heard the fans today they were great. They kept going till the end, like the players! There is a good rapport at the minute between the fans and players. We’re in a good place.
“We know we’ve got the quality in the side to unlock teams, but you have to give Fleetwood credit as well. They were very organised and disciplined. It will be interesting, and we’re thoroughly looking forward to it.”