In the end it proved to be a disaster for recalled goalkeeper Brian Jensen whose mistake five minutes from the end of normal time brought the only goal of the game for Barnsley's Danny Rose. Scott Golbourne hit a long hopeful ball into the box and I'm not quite sure what Jensen was trying to do with it.
He completely misjudged it and could only touch it onto the bar allowing the home youngster to score from close range and leave the Clarets facing an immediate exit from the competition. Just a few minutes later, at the final whistle, he made his way off without acknowledging the fans or his team mates, instead walking the short distance from goal to the players' tunnel with head bowed.
It was the worst possible end for Jensen and Burnley which means, for the second year in succession, we've gone out of the FA Cup at the first time of asking, but this time it really should not have happened against a very poor Barnsley team.
|Good performance from Michael Duff|
We wondered what the team was going to be with all the injury concerns. Neither Chris McCann nor Martin Paterson made it but Dean Marney was fit again and replaced McCann with Keith Treacy, who came on for Paterson at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year's Day, getting another start.
It looked as strong a side as Sean Dyche could put out. There was no squad rotation apart from the inclusion of Jensen in goal with Lee Grant taking a place on the bench which also housed Luke O'Neill, David Edgar, Marvin Bartley, fit again Junior Stanislas, Wes Fletcher and new signing Dane Richards.
I remember when the FA Cup was a big competition. It's still a competition I look forward to, but this tie hardly captured the imagination of the South Yorkshire public. When their warm up man (why do clubs persist with this nonsense?) bellowed: "Come on you Super Reds, make some noise," I can only assume he was encouraging the banks of empty red seats around the ground.
There was plenty of noise from the Burnley fans, with some new songs tried at the back of the away end including one for Jason Shackell. We even had further chants for Shebby Singh and a request for those to stand who love the Venky's.
On the pitch we started well. We were passing the ball crisply and causing Barnsley some early problems. During this early spell the best chance we created fell to Sam Vokes, following a good link up between Danny Ings and Ross Wallace, Ings played in Vokes on the left hand side of the penalty box but his shot, whilst beating goalkeeper Luke Steele, went just wide of the foot of the far post.
Barnsley did win a couple of corners. Both followed slips from Jensen, who received the usual roar from the Burnley fans every time he collected the ball, but we dealt with them both well and overall they weren't threatening us at all.
Our good start soon ended to. Much of the problem was coming because of our inability to pass the ball. Marney and Brian Stock were, frankly, having poor games. Stock had been so good at Hillsborough but was well off his game here and things were going to get worse for him.
The game was beginning to get a bit tedious when, midway through the first half, the big talking point arrived. Barnsley won a free kick and we lined up a wall. From my vantage point I couldn't see what was going on other than Stock appearing to be punched.
Referee Paul Tierney, of whom I can find nothing positive to write so poor was he, sorted it all out by yellow carding two players. It wasn't even obvious who he'd carded and I had to check via the internet to confirm it was Marlon Harewood and Stock.
It appears Tierney has got it wrong. That's no surprise; he got precious little right. Stock was the wrong man and if any Burnley player warranted a card it was Michael Duff. That proved costly just over ten minutes later when Stock was carded again and was therefore sent off.
I've not got too much sympathy with Stock. Whether that first yellow card was correct or not, he'd got it and there is no way, when on a yellow card, he should be risking another. But he did and his afternoon came to an end.
We quickly reorganised as best we could and saw it through to half time without Barnsley ever being able to take advantage although they really should have scored just before half time but from not too far out they shot way over the bar.
The half ended with Wallace down injured from what I thought was the worst foul of the entire game. Nothing given, Tierney refused him treatment and then blew for half time and walked off leaving the Burnley midfielder on the pitch, still requiring treatment, and not with a second thought.
Dyche made one change for the second half. On came David Edgar to fill in for Stock with Treacy, who had not had too much of an impact, making way.
Barnsley had a half decent chance almost immediately but they fluffed it and for much of the remainder of the half, despite having much more of the possession, they hardly threatened us.
We defended well and all of the back four should be commended for their performances. So well did they do that the home side were restricted to trying their luck from distance with most of them nowhere near the target.
We introduced Richards and within no time he went on two runs. The first won us a corner and when he made the second he all but got through for a shot at goal, only to be denied by the last defender.
We didn't see too much else from him but there is no doubt he's very quick and he'll certainly cause some defenders some problems with the pace he's got. The fans certainly got all excited but I'm not sure I can work out the chant of 'USA' for a Jamaican who has been playing in Canada.
The game was just petering out. Duff was replaced by Bartley after suffering from cramp but this game was heading for 0-0. Neither side by now looked as though they might score and then came the Jensen disaster.
We threw the kitchen sink in then but, one half chance for Vokes apart, we couldn't find the goal that would have brought them back to the Turf for a replay.
The lasting image of this game will be seeing the dejected goalkeeper making his way off at the end. With Lee Grant now firmly established as the first choice league goalkeeper, and with us out of all the cup competitions, it might just have been the Dane's final game for the Clarets.
Overall it was disappointing, certainly given the way we'd played four days ago just a few miles down the road. Barnsley didn't offer us anything tougher to play against either.
Would we have still been in the cup without the red card? Would we be in tomorrow's draw had Grant played? It's all conjecture. We're out but there's always next year.
As is always said by losing managers in the cup - we can concentrate on the league.
The teams were;
Barnsley: Luke Steele, Scott Golbourne, Stephen Dawson, John Stones, Tom Kennedy (Tomasz Cywka 68), Jimmy McNulty, Martin Cranie, David Perkins, Jim O'Brien, Chris Dagnall (Danny Rose 82), Marlon Harewood (Reuben Noble-Lazarus 85). Subs not used: Ben Alnwick, Stephen Foster, Kelvin Etuhu, Bobby Hassell.
Yellow Cards: Marlon Harewood, Jimmy McNulty.
Burnley: Brian Jensen, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff (Marvin Bartley), Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Dean Marney, Brian Stock, Danny Ings, Ross Wallace (Dane Richards 69), Keith Treacy (David Edgar 45), Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Lee Grant, Luke O'Neill, Junior Stanislas, Wes Fletcher.
Yellow Cards: Brian Stock, Dean Marney.
Red Card: Brian Stock.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan).
Attendance: 5,091 (including 1,396 Clarets).