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Leeds United fans call for Neil Warnock’s head
3:10pm Sunday 13th January 2013 in Sport
Barnsley 2 Leeds United 0
Neil Warnock was left with the chants of ‘Warnock, time to go’ ringing in his ears after Chris Dagnall’s brace saw off Leeds.
The Whites have lost 5-2, 4-1 and 2-0 on their last three visits to Barnsley – albeit two of them under Simon Grayson – and Warnock felt the wrath of the 5,000 travelling supporters.
He tried to placate them by bringing a laptop to his post-match press conference and showing an incident he thought should have earned Barnsley’s Stephen Dawson a red card – a foul on Ross McCormack – but did admit his men were not up to the job.
“We were very poor in the first half and if I had have been one of the 5,000 I might have said what they were,” he conceded.
“I thought we had some great chances at the start of the second half and then there was a horrendous tackle from Dawson. How that’s not a red card I don’t know.”
Warnock fought back against the crowd’s claims he should go, however, insisting he was doing the best he could.
The 64-year-old is not the first United manager to accept his club cannot compete at the top level of the transfer market.
“You can’t blame the fans... they pay their money,” he said.
“But I think I’m doing a great job if I’m honest and with one or two additions that I’ve got lined up... I understand their disappointment but we know we need to strengthen.”
Warnock also issued a warning note to Leeds’ fans about the future of 19-goal striker Luciano Becchio.
His assistant, Mick Jones, last week said he expected bids to arrive for the Argentinean and Warnock said: “His head wasn’t right and that’s why the transfer window is such a nightmare for managers. I’ll be having a word with him.”
This was Barnsley's second win in succession and they deserved to score more than the two given to them by Dagnall’s first league goals of the season and his first since the opening day.
They tested Paddy Kenny after just 80 seconds when Jim O’Brien’s deflected effort sent the goalkeeper flying away to his left, while Stephen Dawson had legitimate claims for a penalty turned down when he appeared to be felled by Becchio.
O’Brien then shot over and Dawson was denied by Kenny as the Tykes mounted some pressure which nearly culminated in a goal as Marlon Harewood, almost in slow motion, drifted in from the left and cracked a shot against the foot of Kenny’s right-hand post.
Flitcroft’s anguish at his side’s near misses was evident and his mood did not improve as Jim McNulty’s header was cleared on the line by Rodolph Austin.
Even the loss of O’Brien to a nasty-looking injury following a collision with Lee Peltier did not affect the home side, with Dagnall twice going close at the end of a first half that was completely one-sided.
Leeds’ first effort on 48 minutes drew ironic cheers from their fans as debutant Ross Barkley dragged a 25-yarder just wide, with the Everton teenager then going closer as he spun onto Becchio’s knockdown and crashed a shot against the bar from six yards.
United’s presence as an attacking force was a fleeting one, though, and as the clock ticked into the 63rd minute, Barnsley got the goal they deserved.
Dagnall ran at Sam Byram and turned inside out on the right-hand side of the area. Byram kicked him and once Dagnall had wrestled the ball from Dawson and Harewood he sent Kenny the wrong way.
Even 1-0 was harsh on Barnsley and they put that right just three minutes later, with Byram again given a torrid time by Dagnall. The former Rochdale striker stripped down his inside after Harewood’s touch and duly put a shot across Kenny into the bottom corner.
Barkley offered Leeds’ best response with a cute curling effort which went just over but it was Barnsley’s day and they would have ended it with a third goal had Harewood shown better accuracy after sprinting past Jason Pearce.