Barnsley 1 Huddersfield Town 1: Battling Reds hold high-flying Terriers
Boss Paul Heckingbottom was forced to watch from the stand as Barnsley roared back to earn a welcome point against their high-flying Yorkshire rivals.
David Wagner’s Terriers had been flying in the Championship, having won their previous six games. They were breathing heavily down the necks of top two Newcastle and Brighton.
However, their winning streak was curtailed by Marley Watkins’ second-half equaliser.
Heckingbottom - who was banned from the touchline for one game following a referee clash during the recent defeat to Wolves - said: “I’m pleased with a point because we weren’t at our best.
“In the second half, even though we didn’t necessarily show a lot of quality with the ball, we did affect the game with more energy, desire and tempo.
“We left ourselves a little open to the counter attack, but I’ll accept that.
“We want to be aggressive at home, but we also know that Hudderfield are a good side and can threaten us on the counter attack. Everyone contributed in the end.
“We battled hard and deserved a point.”
The Terriers were the better side in the first half and went in front when centre-back Michael Hefele powerfully headed home Aaron Mooy’s corner-kick.
The Reds scrapped their way back into contention after the break and grabbed a point 15 minutes from time when Watkins superbly flicked home sub Adam Hammill’s clipped cross.
In between time goalkeeper Adam Davies made a string of fine saves and twice Marc Roberts hacked Huddersfield efforts off the line during a frantic finish to the game.
BOSS PRAISES DAVIES HEROICS
Paul Heckingbottom hailed another terrific performance between the sticks from Adam Davies.
Davies (24) was at his brilliant best again in keeping out a hugely impressive Huddersfield side, ultimately earning the gutsy Reds a point from an exciting clash.
After watching his stopper produce wonder saves from Aaron Mooy, Izzy Brown and Collin Quaner, among others, Reds boss Heckingbottom said: “I’m not really bothered who gets the man of the match award, everybody has to contribute, but Davo was exceptional.
“He’s just been getting better and better throughout the season and becoming more consistent.
“When you’ve got someone who can make saves like that, that’s so much better for us.
“We’ll take it when Davo has nothing to do, but likewise when he’s really busy - like he was against Huddersfield - he has to make the saves.
“It’s important of course, but again everyone has to contribute because we’ve seen how tough this league can be.”
REDS MISS HOURIHANE
Goals appear to be a little hard to come by in recent games for Barnsley - and that spell has coincided with the departure of former skipper Conor Hourihane to Aston Villa.
Granted, ironically the Reds did win 3-1 at Hourihane’s Villa on Valentine’s Day thanks to what was a terrific all-round performance, but in the other six games since the Irish midfielder left Oakwell in a big-money move, Paul Heckingbottom’s men have struck just three goals.
Hourihane’s clinical setpiece deliveries are something that any team would miss, and the Reds have struggled to fathom out a solution recently.
Ryan Kent appears to have been handed the baton - certainly from corner-kicks and with free-kicks being floated into the opposition box - but most would acknowledge it’s not really worked yet.
Adam Hammill flicked in a brilliant cross for Marley Watkins’ goal on Saturday - maybe he will be tasked more in future.
He needs to be starting games, though - that’s something he hasn’t always done lately.