United boss Stuart McCall said ‘the big moments in the match have gone against us’ as he reacted to the 2-0 away loss at Barnsley on Saturday.
Goals from Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGeehan in the first-half sealed all three points for the Tykes at Oakwell.
McCall told iFollow Iron: “In the last few weeks we’ve spoken about a little bit of luck going our way for a change, but today unfortunately it’s not. But that’s not to take anything away from Barnsley, who we knew were a good side and they proved that today.
“One minute, Hammy (Adam Hammill) went down in the penalty box and it was a clear penalty kick. Ten seconds later, their boy (Alex Mowatt) is hitting it from 35 yards. On another day, it would have been bread and butter for Jak (Alnwick), but it swerved a little bit and he couldn’t see it (due to the sun). My first thought was he should have had a cap on, but he wore one in the warm-up and it didn’t do him any good, and he felt comfortable without it. Then, low and behold, the sun disappeared five minutes later. That’s not making excuses but it is a fact that the first goal was a freak. Ten seconds before, we should have been having a penalty kick and potentially going one up.
“The second goal was unfortunate, the shot was blocked, it flicked up and the lad (McGeehan) is just running in and manages to knock it in. For all the good play they had, to lose the two goals we lost is frustrating.
“At the end of the first-half and in the second-half, we had opportunities. We can’t beat ourselves up too much. If we’d have been beaten by two outstanding goals, then you hold your hands up, but it’s frustrating that a big decision in the game has gone against us and had a major influence on it. The referee didn’t have a clear view of it and that’s where you want your near side linesman to help him out, but unfortunately he’s not done that.”
Talking about the decision to bring Harrison McGahey and Byron Webster into the team, he said: “It was a back five. We know they play four up top with two wide wingers and two strikers, and knew we had to defend well today. We did for long periods of it. They have attacking full-backs too. We didn’t want to be 5-4-1 with no threat in their half, so we played Hammy up there with Novs (Lee Novak), and tried to get a bit of possession.
“Once we settled down in the first-half, had a few passes and got in down behind them and down the sides, we looked decent and won a few corners. The chance just before half-time was a great move, as Macca (Tony McMahon) played Funso (Ojo) in down the side. He pulled a great ball back, Novs got across the front and the goalkeeper made a terrific reflex save.”
McCall explained why Kyle Wootton was absent from the squad after the match.
He said: “Kyle tweaked the abductor at the top of his thigh on Monday. We rested him until Friday. He did a little bit of work on Thursday in the gym and thought he was going to be okay. On Friday, he trained and just felt a little too sore after it, so we didn’t take any gambles. It meant we had to alter the gameplan slightly.”
He also thanked the away support of just under 1,000 for their backing, adding: “It would be nice to send them home happy from an away game when we’ve brought as many as that. We’ve had some great wins at Fleetwood, Walsall and Peterborough recently. They made lots of noise, and it was disappointing we couldn’t get the result. I thought we did enough to get a goal at least. They recognised the effort was there. Sometimes you come up against a better side and have to hold your hands up.”
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