Stoke fail to inspire
Stoke returned to the Britannia full of hope after a stirring performance at Derby last week, but soon fell into the same rut that has troubled them for the past three home games. Barnsley only really troubled the Potters once in the whole game, unfortunately one chance for all that they needed to snatch the three points. The Potters had the vast majority of the possession and chances but, again, were never able to make their dominance count.
With Tony Pulis just playing Mamade Sidibe up front and Lee Hendrie just behind him in midfield, these were not the tactics that were going to break down a Barnsley defence that, like Southend and Luton before them, came to defend.
Stoke had chances and played well until the final third, stringing passes together in midfield and the Potters' defence was resolute as usual, so it was a surprise to everyone, Barnsley fans included, when Jonathan Fortune's slip just before half time allowed their prolific scorer, Ferenczi, through for an easy chip past Steve Simonson. It still seemed likely that the Potters would fight back in the second half, but nothing materialised and the best chance belonged to a header from Sidibe after a Hendrie corner which was hacked away off the Barnsley goal line.
Stoke have an uphill struggle if they still want to challenge for the play-offs. The gap has now widened to six points. Not impossible, but first they must start scoring some goals.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Fortune, Higginbotham, Griffin, Russell (Rooney 61), Diao, Matteo (Eustace 23), Lawrence (Martin 83), Hendrie, Sidibe.
Subs Not Used: Hoult, Zakuani.
Booked: Diao, Hendrie.
Barnsley: Colgan, Austin, Paul Reid, Nyatanga, Heckingbottom, Devaney, Togwell, McCann, Howard, Ferenczi, Rajczi (Kyel Reid 83).
Subs Not Used: Lucas, Atkinson, Jones, Richards.
Booked: Devaney, Paul Reid, Rajczi, Ferenczi.