The Bantams showed great resilience and looked a threat going forward as they held Barnsley to a goalless draw at Oakwell on Saturday afternoon. A draw was probably a fair result with both teams having significant spells in the game. It’s a point for City who recovered well from the uncharacteristic performance and mid-week defeat to Gillingham, with some stand out performances on show. Loan duo Reece Burke and Lee Evans performed assuringly at centre back and centre midfield respectively.
City had the first chance of note in the game and it came through Paul Anderson who was making his first league start since arriving at the club in the summer. Mark Marshall’s cross was headed half clear by Marc Roberts and Anderson hit a volley towards the bottom corner from the edge of the area and Tykes’ stopper Adam Davies held alertly.
Barnsley hit the woodwork with their first decent opportunity of the game. Roberts’ long throw into the area wasn’t held onto by Ben Williams and on the turn, Marley Watkins saw his shot hit the outside of the post before going behind for a goal kick.
Lee Evans arrived on loan from Wolves earlier in the week and he had an exemplary display in the middle of the park; he had City’s next chance of the game placing a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards after showing great tenacity to win the ball off Sam Winnall.
The two main threats Barnsley had in their armoury was the set-pieces of Conor Hourihane and the long throw of Marc Roberts; Hourihane’s delivery on this occasion was headed back across goal by Roberts before home captain Alfie Mawson looped a header onto the roof of the net.
Midway through the first half, City had a flurry of consecutive corner kicks, one of them taken by Anderson caused real problems. The ball was headed into the area by a Barnsley player before Rory McArdle’s overhead kick attempt was kept out superbly by Davies.
Lee Evans produced a flash of real audacity to try and get on the scoresheet; the Welshmen picked up a loose ball around 40 yards from goal and saw Davies off his line, his shot looped over the Barnsley stopper but dropped a couple of yards wide of the target.
Barnsley had a couple of half decent chances just before the opening. Winnall cut inside from the left flank and onto his right foot before seeing his angled drive tipped round the post by Ben Williams. The next of the two chances mentioned then came from Manchester United loanee Ben Pearson; he was on the end of some sharp build up play to hammer a fierce shot towards goal which stung the palms of Williams.
Winnall, a busy striker who was always looking to cause problems for City, got on the end of an incisive Watkins pass early on in the second half but on the stretch he couldn’t divert the pass with enough pace into the area and Williams gathered comfortably.
Mark Marshall is gradually getting to full fitness and his cross on this occasion almost provided an assist for the opening goal. His brilliant delivery was met by the head of James Hanson but his glancing attempt went wide of the target.
The best chance of the game for City was presented to Steven Davies. He robbed Josh Scowen of possession before racing through on goal, his attempted delicate chip over the keeper went a couple of yards wide of the target. He really should’ve scored and it was a real let off for the home side.
Josh Morris was introduced as a substitute with just over 20 minutes of the second half remaining and he made a real impact on the game. He brought penalty appeals from the away end just a couple of minutes after coming on when he went down under a nudge from Reece Wabara. The referee Eddie Ilderton waved them away, probably the correct call on first view of the incident.
With ten minutes to go the heavens opened and the rain began to pour, around about the same time, City went on the front foot in an attempt to win the game. Morris saw a tempting low cross into the 6 yard box just skip past Hanson at full stretch, and then Luke James saw a shot on the turn held by Davies after he’d controlled Hanson’s flick on.
In the four minutes additional time at the end of the 90, both sides had chances to win the game. First up was City, Evans delivered an excellent free kick into the area and Hanson headed into the ground before seeing the ball loop just over the bar.
Barnsley’s final chance also came from a set-piece. After Marshall had fouled Hourihane, it was the latter’s delivery which was met by the head of Mawson. Breaths were held and hearts sank as the ball headed towards goal, fortunately it came back off the far post with Williams beaten and City held on for a valuable away point.