Barnsley: Boss Wilson rues ‘backward step’

Barnsley celebrate Chris O'Grady's goal
Barnsley celebrate Chris O'Grady's goal
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Barnsley continue to stutter along in the Championship drop zone after they chucked away a two-goal lead against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich.

Granted, the Tractor Boys pretty much dominated in the second half and they were good value for a share of the spoils in the end after pouncing twice in the final 10 minutes, but the Reds can’t afford to let too many more leads like this slip - or their relegation cards will be marked.

Time is simply running out for the South Yorkshire club. They are still four points shy of potential safety, though manager Danny Wilson continues to adopt a positive attitude, and he deserves credit for that having given Oakwell a fresh and welcome energy.

After watching two potentially priceless points slip through his fingers, Wilson said: “The performance wasn’t disappointing, it was just frustrating the way we’ve conceded two late goals in the manner we did.

“We defended too deep late in the game and, when you start taking backward steps against good teams like Ipswich then you are inviting trouble.

“When you’re 2-0 and really need points when you’re in a situation like ours, you have to see out the game better.

“That’s not happened for us in this game, but it is what it is.

“I don’t think we’re any worse off in terms of the teams around us, so we have to keep that belief.”

Wilson had described this as a ‘giant game’ in his programme notes, and when the teamsheets were distributed there were only two enforced changes.

Those were due to suspensions, with Emmanuel Frimpong and Jacob Mellis missing out thanks to their red cards in the last-gasp defeat against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough seven days earlier.

However, Wilson did have ready-made replacements at his disposal, with Jim O’Brien and Stephen Dawson able to step up to the plate.

Ipswich boss McCarthy was back on very familiar territory of course and he stuck with the same team which had beaten Bolton in their previous game.

Ex-Reds loan star Frank Nouble took his place in a three-pronged attack, alongside 15-goal David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy.

Conditions were awful inside Oakwell, the wind was swirling and the rain lashing down, particularly in the second period.

But the Reds were good value for their lead at the interval - handed to them courtesy of leading scorer Chris O’Grady’s 11th goal of the season.

The opener came after just 12 minutes with a smartly-taken solo effort.

After picking up the ball following Jack Hunt’s cross, talisman O’Grady looked to be taking it away from goal in a crowded penalty area.

But somehow the former Owls man managed to wriggle free of Christophe Berra and his 15-yard shot on the turn flew past keeper Dean Gerken and into the corner of the net.

It was a perfect start for the hosts, though Ipswich quickly gave an indication of their undoubted threat.

Just five minutes later left-back Aaron Cresswell curled in a free-kick from the edge of the box, with the ball striking the post before bouncing away to safety.

The remainder of the half saw the two teams trade chances, with the recalled O’Brien going closest for the hosts when he saw a goalbound shot blocked by brave defender Tommy Smith.

After the restart the industrious Scot missed a golden chance after being expertly teed up by O’Grady - firing over from inside the box when more composure was needed.

The Tractor Boys saw substitute Paul Anderson volley inches wide, before the Reds fired home what they probably thought was going to be their victory-clinching goal with 16 minutes left.

It was a rather fortunate strike, with sub Tomasz Cywka’s 20-yard free-kick being deflected just out of Gerken’s reach by McGoldrick.

Three sides of Oakwell rejoiced as the Reds looked to be on their way to a precious fifth Championship win of the season, but it wasn’t to be.

With nine minutes left Berra bundled home a rebound after Smith’s header had been hacked off the line by Peter Ramage, then McGoldrick made it 2-2 when he smashed home - via a deflection off the wall - after Cresswell had touched a free-kick to him on the edge of the Barnsley box.

So the Reds had been denied, and Oakwell old boy McCarthy said: “That’s a blooming good point for us, though by a good stretch we deserved it.

“In fact we didn’t really get what we deserved - we should have won the game.”