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 leveler 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
Martin Cranie returned to replace the injured Stephen Foster (torn
calf), while striker Jason Scotland was preferred to Chris Dagnall up
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
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
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
And to make matters worse fellow strugglers Blackburn, Wolves and
Peterborough all picked up points in their own battles to stay up.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele, Wiseman, Hassell (Jones 32), Cranie,
Noble-Lazarus, Cywka (Harewood 90), Mellis, Perkins, O’Brien, Scotland
(Dagnall 76), O’Grady.
Subs: Alnwick, Rose, Patterson, Clark.
Booked: Jones, Mellis.
Derby County (4-4-2): Fielding, Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth,
Freeman (Jacobs 68), Hendrick, Coutts, Davies, Bennett (Sammon 73),
Martin (Gjokaj 90)
Subs: Legzdins, O’Connor, Doyle, Roberts.
Referee: Paul Tierney