Barnsley 0 Bradford City 0: Reds boss impressed by battling qualities

Alfie Mawson heads against the woodwork in the dying seconds for Barnsley. Photo: Dean Atkins
Alfie Mawson heads against the woodwork in the dying seconds for Barnsley. Photo: Dean Atkins
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson was pleased with his side’s endeavour and all-round performance despite being held to a goalless draw at Oakwell.

The Reds created marginally the better chances against their Yorkshire rivals - and were denied only by the woodwork deep into stoppage-time when skipper Alfie Mawson headed against the post.

A battling performance gave Johnson heart as his side head into Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup date with Everton.

Johnson’s men are unbeaten in three League One games and the squad appears to be gelling encouragingly as the games come thick and fast.

He said: “I felt this was quite a good advert for the division. There probably weren’t quite as many shots on target as people would like, but appreciated that it was a tough game all round, for both teams.

“There were lots of positives from our point of view. The way we moved the ball around at times demoralised Bradford, although we didn’t quite have enough on the end of it.

“But we controlled the tempo and the speed of the game, and their goalkeeper made a couple of great saves.

“I’m disappointed of course, but coming out of it I’m generally happy knowing that we’ve secured a decent point.

“We had Bradford on the ropes at times, and in the end we were unlucky not to nick it.”

The Reds look particularly solid at the back at present, with Johnson clearly satisfied having now kept back-to-back clean sheets at home.

“It’s been a good start defensively,” added Johnson. “Alfie Mawson and Marc Roberts haven’t played at this level before and they won’t come across too many strikers that are as physically strong as Hanson and Davies.

“They’ve taken the ball, been good in possession and been brave, but this team needs time.

“Some players are not quite on the same wavelength yet, but understanding will come with work on the training field. Those little one per-cents will just keep adding up and they will get there.”

The Reds starting line-up featured one alteration, with Reece Wabara stepping in to make his first start for the club after impressing during the week after coming on as a sub in the dramatic win at Millwall.

Teenager James Bree was on the bench, alongside young ‘keeper Jack Walton and new loan signing Kadeem Harris.

Sam Winnall went closest for the Reds during the first half, forcing a splendid save from Ben Williams.

The Reds survived a real scare in the 65th minute when Steven Davies robbed Josh Scowen, only for the Bantams’ front-man to clip a shot wide.

Williams later produced two terrific saves, the first from Winnall.

Ben Pearson also lashed in a thunderous shot which the ‘keeper beat away to keep the scores blank.

It was the fourth and final minute of added time and the last touch of the match when Barnsley thought they had nicked an unlikely third straight victory.

Conor Hourihane floated in a super corner and as Mawson rose superbly to meet it, his header crashed against the post and the ball flew to safety.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies 7; Wabara 6, Mawson 8, Roberts 6, Nyatanga 6; Scowen 5, Pearson 7 (Harris 62, 5), Hourihane 8, Crowley 6; Watkins 7, Winnall 7 (Wilkinson 75, 5). Subs: Walton, Rothwell, Bree, Digby, Smith.

Booked: Crowley (83)

Bradford (4-4-2): Williams 7; Darby 6, Liddle 7, McArdle 6, Meredith 5; Marshall 5, Burke 7, Evans 7, Anderson 6 (Morris 66, 5); Davies 5 (James 73, 7), Hanson 6.

Subs: Jones, Clarke, Knott, Mottley-Henry, Sheehan.

Booked: Anderson (60)

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

Attendance: 10,342