Barnsley 1, QPR 1: Reds denied third win of term by Luke Freeman’s late show

Barnsley's Harvey Barnes.
Barnsley's Harvey Barnes.
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Barnsley were denied a third home Championship win of the season by Luke Freeman’s classy late strike.

Visitors QPR were rewarded following a late surge for an equaliser when Freeman smashed home from the edge of the box in the 87th minute.

Up until that point it looked as though the overworked Reds defence was going to emerge with the maximum reward, but Rangers deservedly levelled.

Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom had made two changes to his starting line-up following the weekend’s last-gasp defeat at Wolves.

Left-back Zeki Fryers was handed his league debut at Matty Pearson’s expense, while Ike Ugbo was in up top as Tom Bradshaw dropped to the bench. A generally dismal opening period at Oakwell was lit up by a quite breathtaking strike in the 20th minute from Reds youngster Harvey Barnes. The 19-year-old wide-man cracked home a curling effort from 25 yards after being teed up by Fryers.

Earlier, Rangers provided the first genuine threat when Pawel Wszolek charged through the middle, only to then fire disappointingly straight at a grateful Adam Davies. Once Barnes had spectacularly fired the Reds into the lead, they dominated in the run-up to half-time.

The hosts created further chances, not least from defender Adam Jackson who nodded agonisingly just wide as he raced in to meet a trademark in-swinging cross from Adam Hammill.

The Reds were looking slick at times, and Jason McCarthy went close to a second goal, firing narrowly over the top as he completed a neat team move. The theme continued into the second period, with the Reds passing the ball across the pitch impressively.

It was almost 2-0 when Ugbo was denied by a smart save from Alex Smithies after the big striker had latched on to Joe Williams’ through-ball.

Rangers responded with Jamie Mackie narrowly missing the target, but by the hour mark in the contest the Reds’ defence was standing firm.

Former Reds favourite Josh Scowen was allowed far too much room as he darted into the box, only to see his header planted over the crossbar. Midway through the second period, Hammill let fly with a dipping effort and Smithies tipped the ball over the bar.

At the other end Wszolek ought to have done much better when he fired wide despite being unmarked just 12 yards out.As the game entered the final 10 minutes the Reds’ rearguard were frantically keeping Rangers at bay.

Ultimately they couldn’t hold on as Freeman struck with just three minutes left.