LEICESTER arrived at Oakwell on Saturday having spent upwards of 10 million quid in the summer transfer window.
The favourites for promotion were expected to prevail comfortably against unfancied Barnsley, but that’s not the way the game panned out.
The Reds - fresh from the international break and two impressive results on the road - didn’t read the script and gave the Foxes an almighty fright.
Barnsley were excellent value for their draw and really ought to have gone on to secure the three points.
However, they came up against an excellent young keeper in Kasper Schmeichel who produced a clutch of brilliant saves.
Reds boss Keith Hill was clearly satisfied with his lot after his side had finally secured a first home point of the season.
He said: “I’ll accept that point. Our new team won’t gel overnight, but it’s developing and as a manager I’m pleased with that.
“We should have kept a clean sheet - it was a disappointing goal for us to concede - but on the whole I was encouraged and the performance overall reflected our progression.”
It had been three weeks since Barnsley had played at Oakwell, and for this clash against Sven Goran Eriksson’s big-spending Foxes, boss Hill made just the one change to his starting line-up following the draw at Millwall last time out.
It came in the shape of wide man Jim O’Brien who came in at the expense of Scott Wiseman who dropped to the bench.
Hill persisted with playing just Andy Gray up top on his own again thanks to the continued absence of the injured Craig Davies, with club skipper Bobby Hassell dropping back to his more familiar right-back position now Wiseman was on the bench.
Ricardo Vaz Te was still out with a thigh problem as Hill was going for his 100th win as a manager.
Eriksson paraded a multitude of talent in his side, including hitman Jermaine Beckford, who stepped up for his Foxes debut after signing for £2.5m from Premier League Everton.
The visitors opened well with Beckford testing Luke Steele - starring again in front of watching England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence - before Swiss World Cup star Gelson Fernandes should have done better with a shot from the edge of the box.
However, Barnsley clawed their way into the game and dominated the remainder of the first half.
Loan man Danny Drinkwater twice went close with efforts from distance, while Andy Gray glanced a header from O’Brien’s pinpoint cross a whisker wide.
The Reds were on top, and they grabbed a deserved opening goal seven minutes before the break.
Jim McNulty charged down the left and crossed for Gray. He headed powerfully on to the crossbar and as the loose ball dropped in the six-yard box there was Jacob Butterfield who was perfectly placed to head the ball home.
It was a brilliant time to have scored and taken a priceless lead, but the Reds were undone by an inspired substitute just 20 seconds after the restart. Andy King had only just come on to replace the ineffective Paul Gallagher, but he latched on to Beckford’s low cross and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Beckford then went close himself and all of a sudden prospects looked ominous for the hosts, but they rallied superbly and went on to boss the latter stages.
Butterfield side-footed a shot in that Schmeichel brilliantly beat away, then the Danish stopper was breathtaking in the closing minutes as his double save thwarted sub Danny Haynes and then O’Brien in rapid succession.
The Reds had gone so close to a winner but were denied by Schmeichel.
Eriksson said: “It was good to come back from behind away from home.”