Out of the Box Barnsley – Part 14: Keeping the Wolves from the door

Well fancying seeing you here. You join me at Barnsley once again, playing the out of the box version and we’ve hit somewhat of a crisis. Or at the very least a lull in form. 13 goals scored in 12 games is unheard of for these pages, my sides are often unconventional but scoring goals has never been a problem since 2-3-1-2-2 came into our lives. Is it the patch? Is it Bakayoko’s long term injury? Is it me? Now is not the time for sulking.

Sometimes you can just save and exit and come back the next day and everything is better. It’s not a science and I can’t explain it but scoring three in a game is unusual territory for us these days and plans for a tactical readjustment are on hold.

Sofia are the whipping boys of the Champions League group and thankfully Barrera is in form for the first time this season. He adds two more here so keep us on track to progress in a tight group.

I need a left back just in case we do change to a back four and Lee Hughes from Hodd remains a bargain at £30k. We don’t think it’s that Lee Hughes but Google doesn’t seem to know either.

Wolves are going well and they edge us out at Molineux. A small setback.

Another nervy game, this time at home to Leicester, where our goalscoring issues are all too apparent. I was basically waiting for the late, against the run of play leveller. Thankfully it never came.

We really have to win at home to Dinamo Kyiv and we fall behind to Rebrov. Tricky Trev levels but a point wouldn’t do either of us many favours. Beppe steps off the bench to win it. There’s magic in those all boots.

Nevland hasn’t been the goalscoring machine I hoped but he gets the vital intervention here as we win at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal are a strange old team. They had one incredible season just to annoy us I think and have been nowhere near ever since. Magic Beppe is at the double and Ra Juhl gets in on the act as we win from behind.

It’s been a while since a major injury but Marty B has wrecked his hip. That’s a blow.

The clash with the Betis allstars is a must win, a draw would likely not be enough looking at the other groups but that crafty beautiful man gets the winner and we advance.

Phew.

Betis are out, so 12 points wasn’t enough and I don’t think 13 would have done it either. PSV doesn’t seem the worst draw.

This is a mess at Anfield. Behind to Richard Barker (who starts at Linfield) only to be 3-1 up and cruising is good. Then it goes 3-2 and Broomes can’t handle the pressure at his old club, concedes a penalty and we hang on for a draw.

Boxing Day allows us to vent our frustration against a poor Derby side. Broomes sees red for the second time in 4 days.

David James gets sent off for Arsenal and Wolves run wild. It’s a proper mad squad…

Batistuta, Larsson, Savicevic, Strunz, Lee Carsley. All the lads. 5 defenders/midfielders central.

Blackburn are struggling but score with their only two shots on target. Bodin clambers off the bench to pinch a point.

So frustrating.

We labour to a third round win over Palace.

It’s more of the same in the league away at Sunderland but we strike twice in the last 7 minutes to get the win and keep our hopes alive.

Newcastle aren’t looking like retaining their title but they are at least 3rd. I’ll take a point in the circumstances.

The Nev is our FA Cup man it seems. Maybe Division 1 is his level? Either way, he helps us stave off a shock.

That’s not a bad draw for us. I think Grimsby/Scunny is a derby?

We finish with a strangely easy win at Highfield Road. We specialise in making our lives difficult right now so this is a welcome peaceful afternoon.

Third! It’s a comeback of sorts. We’re only 9 points off the top but it looks like we will once again be playing for second place as yet another team has come from nowhere to lead the way.

Not a bad update then, climbing the table and reaching the latter stages of the Champions League and FA Cup (Round 5 is kind of latter). We’ve improved our goalscoring but it’s still not perfect. Is it just Bakayoko or are the likes of Barrera and Signori too old to rely on? Whichever it is, you won’t want to miss next week as it is perfectly poised. See you there!

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