Match Report: Barnsley 1 Derby 1

Chris O'Grady is mobbed after giving the Reds the lead early in the second half at Oakwell against Derby.

Chris O'Grady is mobbed after giving the Reds the lead early in the second half at Oakwell against Derby.

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Chris O’Grady must have thought he’d scored the goal which would have

given Barnsley’s Championship’s survival hopes a real boost.

But the Reds were denied a precious victory by John Brayford’s cruel stoppage time headed equaliser.

Sheffield Wednesday loan striker O’Grady struck two minutes after the break for a goal which would have seen the Reds climb out of the relegation zone and above safety.

But Brayford’s 90th minute goal meant the Reds remain a point from safety with just three league fixtures remaining.

Struggling badly with injuries and suspensions, Reds’ boss David Flitcroft made four changes to his starting side following their dismal defeat to the Addicks.

Midfielder Stephen Dawson and left-back Tom Kennedy were both missing through suspension having been sent off at the weekend, serving three and one match bans respectively.

Reuben Noble-Lazarus was employed as a makeshift left-back to cover for Kennedy’s absence, with Jim O’Brien used to fill the hole left by Dawson.

Martin Cranie returned to replace the injured Stephen Foster (torn calf), while striker Jason Scotland was preferred to Chris Dagnall up front.

And the Reds started brightly when Scotland blazed over the bar after only five minutes.

O’Brien’s clever back-heel picked out O’Grady not long after, but the Owls’ loan hitman’s strike was straight at Rams keeper Frank Fielding.

Reds skipper Luke Steele then pulled off a fine save with his legs to thwart Jeff Hendrick from close-range, before a minute later Ben Davies shot over from 30 yards.

The unmarked centre-back Jake Buxton wasted a glorious chance when he headed wide from Coutt’s inch-perfect corner, then Steele denied Mason Bennett with a brilliant point-blank save with the Reds under the cosh. O’Grady forced Fielding to save well at his near post seven minutes before the break, but Steele was called into action again when he smothered Hendrick’s powerful volley with the last kick of the first half.

Two minutes after the restart the Reds were ahead when O’Grady kept his composure to volley into the bottom left-corner.

The momentum was with the Reds and Cywka lashed a right-foot shot at Fielding.

Martin rifled over with a left-foot strike with 17 minutes remaining and Coutts shot over from distance. But there was still enough time for an equaliser as Brayford netted at the death. And to make matters worse fellow strugglers Blackburn, Wolves and Peterborough all picked up points in their own battles to stay up.