DAVID Perkins claimed his first goal of the season late on as mid-table Barnsley held managerless Crystal Palace last night.
The diminutive midfielder curled in a stunning left foot effort from the edge of the area with three minutes left to cancel out Glenn Murray’s early opener. It was only Perkins’ second goal for Barnsley.
Reds boss Keith Hill made one enforced change to his line-up. Top-scorer Craig Davies suffered a hamstring problem in the 1-0 victory at Charlton, an injury which could keep him out of action for up to six weeks, and Hill recalled Marlon Harewood up front.
Following the departure of manager Dougie Freedman, who opted to become Bolton’s new boss yesterday, Lennie Lawrence and Curtis Fleming stepped into the breach. The pair handed starts to Andre Moritz, Jonathan Parr and Joel Ward in place of Wilfried Zaha, Dean Moxey and Darcy Blake.
It was Palace who came flying out of the traps and Owen Garvan tried his luck from distance but his shot was deflected wide.
The Reds had another huge let-off when Murray poked Jonathan Parr’s fine cross wide when he should have tested Ben Alnwick.
But Murray made no mistake in the 11th minute, turning in Parr’s inviting centre from close range after Moritz found a gap on the right hand side of Barnsley’s back four. It was Murray’s eighth goal in 10 outings and he clearly enjoys playing against South Yorkshire clubs – he scored two in their win over Sheffield Wednesday at the start of September.
Palace could have doubled their advantage when Peter Ramage met Garvan’s dangerous corner but Alnwick brilliantly kept out his header.
Hill made a tactical change after just 17 minutes, withdrawing Chris Dagnall in favour of Matt Done. The hosts immediately livened up, with Harewood, after a smart turn, having a shot blocked by Murray after Mellis’s corner caused havoc.
Done almost made an immediate impact, cutting inside on his left foot before unleashing a fierce drive which Speroni, making his 250th league appearance for the Eagles, brilliantly tipped wide.
Harewood demonstrated his power by skipping past Delaney before firing straight at Speroni.
Despite Barnsley’s improvement Hill took off Tomasz Cywka and put on Kelvin Etuhu in an attempt to try and inject some urgency and pace into their play.
In the second half it took an inch perfect block from Reds captain Scott Wiseman to deny Moritz from having a sight at goal from 10 yards.
Barnsley were nearly caught napping by the lively Moritz until Stephen Foster unceremoniously brought down the lively winger. It was no surprise Foster was yellow carded for the offence.
South African international Kagisho Dikgacoi came close, inadvertently, to doubling Palace’s advantage when his cross cum shot struck the post and bounced to safety. Then up-stepped Perkins to rescue Barnsley a point.
BARNSLEY (4-2-3-1): Alnwick; Stones, Foster, Wiseman, Golbourne; Dawson (Rose 67), Perkins; Cywka (Etuhu 30); Mellis, Dagnall (Done 17); Harewood. Unused substitutes: Steele, Hassell, McNulty, Kennedy.
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-2-3-1): Speroni; Ward, Ramage, Delaney, Parr; Garvan, Jedinak; Moritz (O’Keefe 80), Dikgacoi, Bolasie; Murray. Unused substitutes: Price, Wright, Martin, Blake, Wilbraham, Easter.
Bookings: Barnsley – Foster 71
Goals: Barnsley - Perkins 87; Palace - Murray 11
Referee: David Webb (Lancashire)
Attendance: 8,195 (away 469.)