|Barnsley 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 11th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Barnsley 1-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 11th Mar 2017 17:15
Tom Lawrence netted a dramatic injury-time equaliser as Town grabbed a 1-1 draw at Barnsley. Marley Watkins’s 58th minute goal looked to have won it for the Tykes until Lawrence met substitute Brett Pitman’s cross deep in time added on to claim a point for the Blues, who have now drawn six on the trot.
Emyr Huws returned in midfield after his hamstring problem while manager Mick McCarthy, back at his hometown club where he started his career, recalled wing-backs Jordan Spence and Myles Kenlock.
Grant Ward dropped to the bench, as did Tommy Smith - with Jonas Knudsen moving back to the left of the three-man central defence - while Josh Emmanuel missed out on a place in the 18.
Watkins, who the Blues made an offer for last summer and McCarthy hasn’t ruled out moving for again, started on the right of midfield for the Tykes.
Spence won a corner in the opening minute which Tom Lawrence whipped in and Christophe Berra nodded wide at the near post.
Barnsley struck their first shot of the game in the sixth minute, Tom Bradshaw's pass breaking to Adam Armstrong, who hit a shot which was too close to Bartosz Bialkowski and the keeper claimed.
In the ninth minute Tykes skipper Marc Roberts turned Huws’s left-wing cross over the bar with the on-loan Cardiff man having made a bright start following his absence.
A minute later at the other end, Watkins crossed deep from the right but was unable to find a red shirt and Bialkowski and skipper Luke Chambers allowed the ball to run out.
Barnsley should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when Armstrong spurned a golden chance.
Adam Hammill was sent away in space on the Barnsley left and sent over a deep cross which Matty James volleyed into the ground at the far post, the ball bouncing up to the unmarked on-loan Newcastle striker, who nodded over from the edge of the six-yard box.
Three minutes later, a freekick was played short to Andy Yiadom not far outside the area but the full-back shot over.
It was Town’s turn to go close in the 17th minute. First, Chambers flicked Lawrence’s corner from the right well wide. Then David McGoldrick picked up the loose ball on the left and brought it round and back to the edge of the box before hitting a powerful strike which Tykes keeper Adam Davies did well to get down to block but couldn’t hold on to.
Cole Skuse was first to the loose ball but somehow Davies kept out his rebound, the midfielder having gone close to netting his second goal for the Blues for the second Saturday in succession.
As the game reached the 20-minute mark, Armstrong hit a low 25-yard effort which was easy for Bialkowski, then three minutes later Josh Scowen nodded a Hammill freekick over.
On 32 Armstrong hit a powerful strike from 30 yards which flew wide of the untroubled Bialkowski’s left post, then two minutes later Lawrence was spoken to by referee Stephen Martin after a late challenge on Yiadom but avoided a yellow card.
Soon after, Huws was also fortunate to avoid a caution for pulling back the former Barnet man as he counter-attacked having dispossessed Lawrence as he broke.
Town weren’t too far away from going in front a minute later when McGoldrick tricked his way to the byline on the left of the area and cut the ball back towards Lawrence but Angus MacDonald turned it behind, going close to netting an own goal as he did so.
Just prior to the half going into one minute of injury time Skuse picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Hammill, although the Blues midfielder had appeared to be pulled back by the former Wolves man as he dispossessed him.
Barnsley had edged the first half having had more of the ball and most of the chances - although largely half-chances - even if Bialkowski was still to be seriously challenged.
Both sides had had one really good opportunity, Armstrong’s header over for the Tykes and McGoldrick’s shot and Skuse’s follow-up for the Blues, while MacDonald hadn’t been too far away from breaking the deadlock at the wrong end from McGoldrick’s cut-back.
Town had kept hold of the ball better than they had against Brentford or Wolves in spells with Huws's return making a difference but without ever really dominating.
Barnsley started the second half very much on the front foot, winning an early freekick not far outside the area, then a corner on the right after Knudsen had nodded a ball into the box wide. On 49 Watkins was fouled 25 yards out but hit his freekick straight at the wall.
Seven minutes after the restart Town switched Diagouraga for Ward, who scored a debut hat-trick against the Tykes having come on as a sub in the Blues’ 4-2 win on the opening day of the season.
A minute later, James smashed a volley from 25 yards which Bialkowski saved down to his right.
The Blues, with the wing-backs starting to get further forward than they had in the first half, started to look more threatening and on 57 Ward hit a low shot from the edge of the box which deflected wide.
From the corner McGoldrick flicked a header across goal and well wide with Chambers behind him feeling it would have reached him. And from the subsequent counter-attack the Tykes took the lead.
Watkins was played in on goal through the middle by James and took the ball into the area and beat Bialkowski as Spence’s despairing challenge came too late. The goal was very much a sucker punch with the Blues having been in their best spell of the half.
Town made their second substitution of the half on 63 with Freddie Sears coming on for Kenlock as the Blues switched to 4-4-2 with Lawrence and Ward in the wide midfield roles.
Four minutes later, Ward crossed from the right after good work from Sears, the ball looping to McGoldrick, who took a touch before smashing a shot against Scowen, who might not have been able to close down a first-time effort.
Barnsley began to put the Blues under pressure as the match moved into its final 20 minutes, James hitting a low shot through a crowd of players and wide.
McGoldrick scraped a shot well over on 76, then a minute later a deflected Lawrence strike looped into the arms of Tykes keeper Davies. The home side switched Armstrong for Ryan Williams for the final 12 minutes.
Barnsley should have made it 2-0 in the 80th minute when sub Williams fed Hammill in space to his left inside the area but Bialkowski stood his ground and saved. Skuse cleared the loose ball.
At the other end Town continued to look for an equaliser, albeit hardly convincingly, but a minute later Ward looped a header into Davies’s hands from a Sears cross from the right.
After another James volley hit powerfully but well over, Pitman replaced Huws, who had tired after the break.
As the match moved into three minutes of injury time, Ward sent Sears away down the right but the ex-Colchester man’s cross deflected into the keeper’s arms with Pitman frustrated at the far post.
Soon after McGoldrick hit a shot which was blocked with the Blues suddenly looking dangerous.
And seconds before the whistle, they grabbed an equaliser. Pitman stood up a cross from the left and Lawrence arrived late at the far post to tap home his 11th goal of the season before celebrating wildly with the Blues support behind the goal, picking up his 11th booking as a result.
There was no time for either side to look for a winner and the game ended 1-1, Town’s sixth successive draw, the second longest run in the club's history behind a seven-game drawing streak in November and December 1990.
The Blues' unbeaten run, which has now stretched to eight games, looked set to end with Barnsley having been the better side having gone in front and looking more likely to add to their lead than Town were to level. Hammill in particular will feel he should have done better with his chance.
But for all its failings, this Blues side never gives up and in the final minutes, with subs Ward, Sears and then crucially Pitman all making an impact, they began to create openings and eventually found the equaliser, scored by Lawrence, who had had another of his quieter afternoons.
The result sees Town, who have won one in 12 in all competitions, remain 16th but not only seven points from the relegation zone ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Cardiff.
Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, Jones, Roberts (c), MacDonald, Scowen, James, Hammill, Watkins, Bradshaw, Armstrong (Williams 78). Unused: Townsend, Jackson, Mowatt, Hedges, Moncur, Kent.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Berra, Knudsen, Spence, Skuse, Huws (Pitman 84), Diagouraga (Ward 52), Kenlock (Sears 63), McGoldrick, Lawrence. Unused: Gerken, T Smith, Pitman, Bru, Moore. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire). Att: 11,836 (Town: 742).
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