Barnsley: Reds 1 Club Brugge 1

Barnsley's Chris O'Grady in action against Brugge
Barnsley's Chris O'Grady in action against Brugge

Chris Dagnall was on the scoresheet as Barnsley made a promising start to their pre-season with a battling home draw with Club Brugge last night.

Striker Dagnall took just ten minutes to get on the scoresheet in the Reds’ first official friendly before they kick off the new Championship season at home to Wigan Athletic.

But Belgium visitors Brugge equalised within 40 seconds of Dagnall’s opener, a goal which ultimately proved enough for a share of the spoils for first Belgian side to play at Oakwell.

Visitors Brugge had a familiar face amongst their ranks with former Chelsea and Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnson one of their two starting strikers.

And although the Icelandic international Gudjohnson might be nearing the end of his career - he’s now 34 years old - the Reds defence knew they would have to be on their toes to marshall a player with bags of experience.

But it was another former Barcelona player, Victor Vazquez, who pulled a goal back for Brugge after Dagnall had given the hosts a welcome lead with a wonderful strike.

After some good early possession, the Reds broke forward down the right wing and, when the ball was cut back to Dagnall, the former Rochdale marksman didn’t need a second opportunity to find the back of the net.

Dagnall’s powerful effort flew into the top-left corner, leaving Brugge’s Australian goalkeeper Matthew Ryan with no chance.

However, the visitors were soon level after the Reds failed to switch back on after their welcome opener.

Some soft defending saw midfielder Vazquez gifted with too much time on the edge of the box and his deflected shot left keeper Ben Alnwick wrong-footed as it flew into the bottom right-hand corner.

Vazquez went close to bagging a second goal soon after, but he shot wide when in a good position.

But Brugge’s best chance to take the lead for the first time came four minutes before the break when striker Maxime Lestienne lost his marker and struck the left upright with a close-range strike.

It should have been a goal for the Belgian hitman, but the Reds were able to breath a big sigh of relief.

The dangerous Lestienne departed at half-time, while Alnwick was replaced between the posts by Luke Steele for the hosts at the break.

The second half started with a slower tempo than the first, but the Reds – who drew 2-2 with Romanian outfit Dinamo Bucharest in a closed-door friendly on Thursday afternoon - moved the ball around sweetly and were nearly rewarded with a second goal two minutes before the hour mark.

Midfielder David Perkins let fly with a powerful left-foot strike, but his effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the on-song Ryan.

Two minutes later Irish midfielder Stephen Dawson force a smart stop from Ryan at his near post.

Steele was caught knapping 60 seconds later and substitute Wang thought he’d scored only to see new signing Lewin Nyatanga to produced a fine goalline clearance.

Jordan Clark struck the crossbar.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Alnwick (Steele 45), Wiseman, Cranie, Nyatanga, Golbourne, Dawson, Etuhu, Mellis, Perkins, O’Grady, Dagnall. Reds brought on ten outfield players after 66 minutes: Kennedy, O’Brien, Scotland, McNulty, Digby, Scott, Cywka, Noble-Lazarus, Clark, Patterson.

Club Brugge (4-4-2): Ryan, Hogli, Simons, Duarte, Refaelov, Blondel, Vazquez, Lestienne, Gudjohnsen, De Bock, Engels. Subs: Kujovic, Adu, Fourlanos, Bakenga, Verstraete, Storm, Coopman, Mechele, Dhoest, Dierickx, Mbombo, Wang.