Andy Gray battles with Watford's John Eustace.
Andy Gray battles with Watford's John Eustace.

BARNSLEY went to Vicarage Road looking for their first away win over Watford since April 2008 and are still searching for that victory.

And manager Keith Hill kept faith with the same starting XI which beat Derby County 3-2 at home on Tuesday night.

But despite craving back-to-back victories the Reds were slower out of the blocks against the Hornets, opponents they drew 1-1 with at Oakwell earlier in the season.

It was not until the 28th minute that the Reds had their first chance of the half, but before that it had been the hosts who had quite a few chances.

In the ninth minute striker Deeney had a powerful right-footer deflected for a corner, and a minute later midfielder Eustace curled a right-foot shot just wide of the right upright.

Winger Kacaniklic forced a good low save from Reds’ keeper Steele as the Hornets forced the pace.

McNulty found himself with a yellow card for a foul on right-back Hodson, although it looked a harsh decision on the defender.

From the resulting free-kick on the right edge of the Reds’ penalty area, Kacaniklic curled a left-foot free-kick wide of the right post.

The Reds’ first chance came just before the half hour mark when new singing Tonge whipped in a dangerous corner from the right and skipper Edwards directed a header straight at keeper Loach.

But just as the visitors looked as though they were starting to play with some freedom, they were hit with a sucker-punch.

Murray’s deflected free-kick fell invitingly for EUSTACE who, with his back to goal, did superbly well to hook a right foot shot beyond Steele and into the bottom left corner.

Tonge was booked for a clumsy challenge on Kacaniklic wide on the left flank, perhaps his frustration boiling over with the Reds struggling badly to make in-roads.

And that was the last of the action in the opening 45 minutes with the visitors needing to fire themselves into action in the second half if they were at least going to pick up a point for their efforts.

Half-time: Watford 1 Barnsley 0

Having struggled to get a decent foothold on the game in the opening first half, Barnsley manager Hill made one switch with Dagnall brought on for Done.

There was no doubt Hill wanted to freshen his options up front with his original three-man strikeforce having proved very ineffective.

Four minutes after the restart centre-back Foster found himself to be the third Barnsley player to be booked after a 50/50 challenge with Deeney went against him.

Hill and his assistant Flitcroft patrolled the dugout with pained expressions as they tried to think of a way to change the pattern of the game.

An equaliser nearly came in the 51st minute but Gray’s header from a Tonge free-kick flew well wide of the left post.

Hill replaced Tonge with Golbourne, the former Exeter City defender coming on to make his debut.

He slotted in at left-back and McNulty moved into midfield as the Reds continued to try and make something happen.

Midfielder Doyle was introduced in the 68th minute and McNulty made way as Hill used the last of his three substitutes to freshen things up.

But no sooner had Doyle stepped on the pitch than the Reds found themselves 2-0 down. And it was that man EUSTACE again as the Hornets’ captain bagged his second goal of the afternoon.

UThe Reds continued to struggle for a good chance on target as the Hornets’ defence held firm on their home patch.

And with no more substitutes to influence the match it only looked as if one side would score.

Deeney nearly made it 3-0 with seven minutes remaining, but his strong right-foot strike was well-saved by Steele.

The Reds broke on the counter-attack, but no matter what they threw at Watford, the home side always had an answer.

But amazingly, against the run of play, the Reds pulled a goal back through sub GOLBOURNE.

Wiseman’s right-wing cross was chipped on by Gray and there was full-back Golbourne to side-foot into the bottom right corner in the 84th minute.

And that meant there was easily enough time for the Reds to get an equaliser, especially with the momentum now with them.

Davies had a long-range shot charged down just as the match announcer signalled there would be five minutes of added on time.

Foster and Garner became embroiled in a heated exchange in the final frantic few minutes, but the hosts held to take maximum points.

BARNSLEY: Steele,Wiseman,Foster,Edwards,McNulty,Perkins,Smith,Tonge,Done,Gray,Davies