|Barnsley 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 11th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
McCarthy: First Thing I've Ever Stolen From Barnsley
Saturday, 11th Mar 2017 18:19
Boss Mick McCarthy admitted the Blues “burgled a point” as Tom Lawrence’s last-gasp injury time goal saw Town grab a 1-1 draw at Barnsley, his hometown club where he started his playing career.
“It’s the first thing I’ve stolen from here,” he admitted. “I was here a long time and I never took a paper clip, a pen, a piece of paper or anything else, but we’ve burgled a point today.
“But that’s part of the game, the game goes for as long as the referee adds time on. And we were poor today, they were much better, so much better once they got the goal.
“We could have scored from the corner and we conceded, which was nonsense, that was poor on our part.
“And the momentum was with them and Bart’s made a great save [from Adam Hammill] but the game does last until the referee blows his whistle.
“I thought Adam Hammill was outstanding for them today but they’ll be beating him up because he’s let Tom Lawrence run at the far post. It happens.
“Brett Pitman’s come on, he’s been out of the team and he made a difference with a quality ball. Did we deserve it? Did we hell. But I’m going to take it.”
Given the context of results elsewhere, McCarthy agreed that it was an important point with the gap to the bottom three now only seven points.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a good point and I think it’s a good point coming here and getting a point. However we’ve done it, it’s nice to be going away with a point.’
The result extends Town’s unbeaten run to eight matches, albeit with only one of those games having been a win.
“I much prefer draws to defeats,” McCarthy continued. “I’ve never said for one minute that we’re home and hosed and we’re safe, that’s been quite the opposite. But if we stay unbeaten we’ll be all right.”
The Blues boss had praise for Pitman, who was making his first appearance since the 3-0 defeat to Derby on the final day of January, his 29th birthday.
“He’s been out of the team, he’s not been happy about it, he’s other people go on, he’s not had a sub spot,” the Blues manager added.
“When you get the chance to go on you’ve got to make a difference. There are so many that don’t and yet he’s had 10 minutes and he’s made a great difference with a terrific ball. I’m pleased for him, I’ve just said that in front of everybody else.”
McCarthy also felt his other two subs Grant Ward and Freddie Sears made an impact: “It is a squad game, they’re there to make a difference being on the bench, add a bit of energy to it. I was pleased with the subs today.”
Barnsley goalscorer Marley Watkins was the subject of a Town offer last summer and reportedly interested the Blues once more in January and the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle man again impressed the Blues boss, as did most of his team-mates.
“Yes, and so did their two centre-halves and Yiadom and the left-back I thought was good,” he added.
“And I thought the two midfield players were good and I thought the two strikers were different class. I thought they all impressed me today. A very, very impressive performance.”
Regarding his own goalscorer Lawrence, who had had one of his quieter games up until his goal, he added: “You can’t play well every week, but he’s scored the equaliser. Good luck to him.”
McCarthy said beforehand it would be a day tinged with sadness with his mentor and Barnsley legend Norman Rimmington having died at the end of last year, aged 93.
“It’s 42 years since I came here as a 16-year-old and he’s been in constant in that for all that time up until now,” he reflected.
“It was strange walking in and not going to the laundry and not getting a big hug off him and seeing him.
“As much as he loves Barnsley, I bet he’s delighted for me today if he’s looking down on us.”
Would he have been giving him stick after the match? “I’m sure everyone in Barnsley would. I think my popularity is enough that at the end of it they’ll be bitterly disappointed but they’ll not be too unhappy that I’ve nicked a point if it means a lot to us.”
Asked whether he has an affinity with his hometown and whether he gets less stick at Oakwell than elsewhere in the country, he added: “I get more stick at Ipswich than I do anywhere else at the moment!
“Have I got an affinity with it? I don’t know if you can hear me but I haven’t lost my accent in the 30-something years that I’ve been moved out of the town.
“People might not recognise me but they hear me speak and they know exactly who it is.”
McCarthy has a lot of time for Tykes boss Paul Heckingbottom, who is also from Barnsley: “I’ve said before, he’s arguably the manager of the year for me, certainly in this league.
“It’s generally the one who wins the league, although it wasn’t last year, Chris Hughton won it and Dychey didn’t.
“I’ve thought if you win the league you should get the manager of the league but maybe I’m swaying this time.
“Somebody who has done as well as Paul and sold all the players he has done and is still maintaining the level of performance he’s getting, I think that’s remarkable.
“They better hold onto to him because they’ll be queuing up for his services, if that’s what he does.”
Barnsley boss Heckingbottom felt his team should have had the game wrapped up before Lawrence's goal.
“You get what you deserve and we didn’t kill them off, as simple as that," he said.
Ipswich showed what they’re all about and why they haven’t been beaten for so long - because they’re resolute, they keep going to the very end, which I think we do.
“Our disappointment from today is that we haven’t put the game to bed earlier.”
He added: “In terms of what we wanted from a performance we delivered it. Ipswich are very difficult to play against, they’re so organised and give nothing away no matter who they’re playing.
“We had to deal with what they threw at us. They've got a good threat up top, hard-working lads behind the ball who try and deliver, wing-backs who try and get forward.
“But they’re physical as well and they don’t give anything away. Sometimes it’s a bit like a war of attrition and they just try to grind you for that mistake. I didn’t think we gave them hardly anything today but we got punished when we did.
“But I think we should have been out of sight at that point and the last three minutes of injury time should have been easier for us.”
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