Burton 0, Barnsley 0: Reds chief Heckingbottom satisfied after draw at Brewers

Barnsley's Lloyd Isgrove

Barnsley's Lloyd Isgrove

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Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom declared himself satisfied with a point after his side battled out a goalless draw at second-placed Burton Albion.

The race for the League One play-offs continues apace for the battling Reds, who at least moved themselves that point closer to the coveted top six after results elsewhere among the top sides in the third tier were largely favourable.

Barnsley's Marc Roberts.

Barnsley's Marc Roberts.

The Brewers look reasonably well set to secure themselves a spot in next season’s Championship, so there were few surprises when Heckingbottom saluted his side in the wake of the entertaining draw his side had secured at the Pirelli Stadium.

The Reds are now two points shy of sixth-placed Gillingham in the standings - and three behind Millwall in fifth - with still four games remaining.

Heckingbottom said: “I have to be happy with a point at Burton.

“As far as nil-nils go it was a good spectacle because both teams gave everything and it was a real high energy, high tempo game.

Barnsley's Harry Chapman holds off Burton's Hamza Choudhury.

Barnsley's Harry Chapman holds off Burton's Hamza Choudhury.

“We did create some really good opportunities, but we just didn’t take them.

“We were the better team in the first half, but by the same reckoning we knew we were taking on a team who don’t give much away.

“We just lacked a bit of composure in the final third at times.

“There’s no panic, though. There’s still four games to go (the next at home against Peterborough tomorrow) so let’s just hope it goes down to the wire.”

A Barnsley fan watches on at Burton

A Barnsley fan watches on at Burton

Temporary boss Heckingbottom was hindered by injuries in the run-up to Saturday’s crunch fixture.

As well as James Bree being ruled out well in advance of the weekend, Aidy White and Marley Watkins also had to miss the trip to Staffordshire.

Josh Scowen was handed the task of slotting in a right-back, with George Williams slotting in on the opposite side of the back four and Lloyd Isgrove returning across the middle.

Heckingbottom’s opposite number Nigel Clough found himself with a similar headache as his faltering side were looking to halt a run of four games without a win.

Barnsley's Adam Hammill tells the linesman he had been the victim of a 2 footed challenge.

Barnsley's Adam Hammill tells the linesman he had been the victim of a 2 footed challenge.

Defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and front-man Stuart Beavon returned, while Matty Palmer was thrown straight into a midfield position after he was recalled from a successful loan spell at Oldham.

Once the action got under way, the Reds dominated the first period, but couldn’t find that crucial breakthrough.

Heckingbottom’s men were in almost complete control, with Adam Hammill going close early on as he curled a shot narrowly over the top.

Ivan Toney also just cleared the crossbar when his volley missed the target.

With the Brewers struggling to gain any kind of stranglehold on the game, the Reds continued to press.

Toney went close with an acrobatic overhead kick, before 20-goal man Sam Winnall fluffed the best chance of the opening period.

Barnsley's Lloyd Isgrove.

Barnsley's Lloyd Isgrove.

The ex-Scunthorpe man was perfectly-laced in front of goal as he met Hammill’s measured cross, but he somehow managed to scoop a shot over the top from eight yards.

It was that kind of half for the battling Reds.

It proved to be a half where those missed opportunities almost proved costly as the Brewers roared back into contention in the second period.

Lucas Akins looked a threat almost from the off as he was denied by a superb tackle from Alfie Mawson just as he was about to stretch to meet a fine cross from Palmer.

At the other end the Reds came close to bagging that elusive strike when front-man Toney couldn’t quite direct his effort as he met a well-struck free-kick from Hammill.

Hammill then fizzed a superb strike inches over the top from 20 yards as the visitors tried to step on the gas again.

Back came Burton, clearly keen to try and maintain their five-point gap between themselves and the play-off places, with Calum Butcher guiding a shot just past the post after he had been played in expertly by Beavon.

Mark Duffy must have then thought his luck was out as he was twice thwarted by Reds’ ‘keeper Adam Davies in quick succession.

Both times Davies was called upon to produce note-worthy stops as the game ebbed and flowed in the final quarter.

It was the Reds who fluffed arguably one of the best chances of the game in the latter stages.

Marc Roberts flung in another dangerous long throw-in, and as the Brewers’ frantic defence struggled to clear the danger, 20-goal man Winnall somehow managed to clip a shot over the top when it looked as though he was just about the bulge to net and make it goal number 21.

So Burton saw their lead over third-placed Walsall trimmed to just three points - and their winless run extended to five games - so it proved to be another rather frustrating day for their boss Clough.

He said: “I thought Barnsley shaded the first half with a a few opportunities, though there was nothing to seriously threaten us.

“The second half was ours. We just needed that break in the penalty area, but the ball just wouldn’t break for us.

“There were rebounds, the ball was bobbling about, but it just wouldn’t fall for anyone in a yellow shirt.”

Meanwhile, Reds boss Heckingbottom has confirmed that front-man Watkins will miss the rest of the season with a broken jaw.

“That’s a huge blow,” said Heckingbottom.

“He gives everything. You can never question his application so for him to have suffered an injury like that is disappointing.”

BURTON (4-1-4-1): McLaughlin 8; Edwards 7, Mousinho 6, Flanagan 7, Cansdell-Sherriff 6; Weir 5 (Choudhury 69, 5); Duffy 7, Palmer 6, Butcher 7 (Naylor 89, 5), Akins 5; Beavon 6 (Walker 81, 5).

Subs not used: Bywater, Reilly, O’Connor, Bennett.

BOOKED: Flanagan (57), Edwards (89), Choudhury (90).

BARNSLEY (4-4-2): Davies 7; Scowen 6, Mawson 7, Roberts 8, G Williams 7; Isgrove 5 (Chapman 81, 5), Brownhill 6, Hourihane 7, Hammill 8; Toney 6 (Fletcher 78, 5), Winnall 7.

Subs not used: Townsend, Nyatanga, Khan, McCourt, Tuton.

BOOKED: None.

REF: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

ATTENDANCE: 4,858.

Barnsley's Ivan Toney.

Barnsley's Ivan Toney.

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