MATCH REPORT: Barnsley 1 Blackpool 1

Barnsley vs BlackPool 'Craig Davies celebrates after scoring the Reds Goal
Barnsley vs BlackPool 'Craig Davies celebrates after scoring the Reds Goal
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MANAGERS Keith Hill and Ian Holloway both lapped up the entertainment their players provided in the weekend’s draw at Oakwell.

It was both clubs’ 125th anniversary and reduced ticket prices and off-field activities meant more than 14,000 turned out to help create a cracking atmosphere around the stadium.

Once the football got under way all of the players turned on the style, with the Reds matching the high-flying Seasiders every step of the way.

Hill said: “I would happily have paid the full price to watch that. I really enjoyed it.

“Both teams played like winners out there and you could say we both deserved three points, but I was pleased with the way we competed across the pitch.

“I believe Blackpool are the best team in the Championship so for us to respond to that with a performance like we did - I’m happy.”

Hill made just the one enforced change to his starting line-up after the Reds beat Bristol City last time out a fortnight earlier.

Banned Bobby Hassell was replaced by young John Stones who was drafted in to play in the right-back position.

There was encouraging news from the bench, which saw midfielders David Perkins and Matt Done return, as did number one goalkeeper Luke Steele for the first time since being injured in March.

And it was the Reds who got off to a flying start when they went close to an opener after barely two minutes.

Youngster Stones, oozing confidence have made his international debut for England Under-19s, bombed down the right and crossed for Chris Dagnall, only for the former Rochdale and Scunthorpe front-man to be denied by keeper Matt Gilks from close range.

But the Reds stormed into the lead after just 13 minutes courtesy of a sweet strike from the in-form Craig Davies.

He took a short pass from Jacob Mellis before lashing a cracking low shot past the stunned Gilks from 25 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

Oakwell erupted and Tomasz Cywka almost made it two minutes later, but just before the half-hour mark man of the match Thomas Ince bagged a fine equaliser.

Blackpool looked a real threat with Matt Phillips, veteran Kevin Phillips and Ince all in advanced roles, and it was the latter who latched on to Angel Martinez’s measured through ball before coolly slotting past Ben Alnwick for his fifth goal of the campaign.

There were plenty of chances for both sides after the break, with Davies going closest for the Reds when he curled in a shot which Gilks dived full length to save.

The final quarter of an hour belonged to Blackpool, though, as they pressed relentlessly for a winner but, inspired by a strong performance from experienced centre-back Stephen Foster on his 200th league appearance, the hosts repelled everything the Seasiders threw at them.

Alnwick thwarted Ince and Kevin Phillips, then as the game entered stoppage time Matt Phillips was stunned when the Reds custodian somehow kept out his strike from close range.

Seasiders boss Holloway acknowledged: “That was a very, very good game. It ebbed and flowed and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“There was a lot of young talent out there and that was exciting for me to watch.”