Match report: Barnsley’s play-off charge checked by Scunthorpe after goalless draw

Barnsley's Harry Chapman slips past ex-Red Stephen Dawson
.Picture Dean Atkins

Barnsley's Harry Chapman slips past ex-Red Stephen Dawson .Picture Dean Atkins

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Barnsley’s League One play-off charge was checked slightly by a resolute Scunthorpe side at Oakwell.

The Sam Winnall-less Reds just couldn’t find a breakthrough, though they did at least maintain their current sixth-place standing in the table.

Barnsley's George Williams and Marc Roberts lose out to Tom Hopper. Picture Dean Atkins

Barnsley's George Williams and Marc Roberts lose out to Tom Hopper. Picture Dean Atkins

Caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom remained positive after the game, clearly taking a glass half-full approach despite his team being frustrated at times.

Asked whether he was happy with the outcome, Heckingbottom said: “I think we have to be happy with that. It could turn out to be a valuable point for us at the end of the season.

“I’m pleased with a point given the start we had. We were poor in the first half.

“It was much better in the second half, and we looked much more like the team we knew. As the game went on we looked stronger, and the lads looked fitter.

Barnsley players observe a minute's silence for victims of Brussels terror attacks. 
Picture Dean Atkins

Barnsley players observe a minute's silence for victims of Brussels terror attacks. Picture Dean Atkins

“If anyone was going to nick victory late in the game it was us, but I guess over the 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair result.”

Heckingbottom had made four changes to his starting line-up. Three players dropped out as they were away on international duty - Callum Connolly, Lloyd Isgrove and Ashley Fletcher - while top scorer Winnall had picked up a hip injury in training on Thursday.

In came the now injury-free Aidy White, Josh Scowen and Harry Chapman, while Ivan Toney was back up front following his return during the week on loan from Newcastle.

Iron boss Graham Alexander - in his first game in charge following his midweek appointment - made just the one change to his line-up, with Luke Williams earning a call.

It was the Iron who created the bulk of the chances in what was a largely miserable sun-drenched first period.

Clearly keen to impress their new gaffer, Scunthorpe went close early on as Luke Williams crashed in a shot from 15 yards that Adam Davies saved superbly down low to his left.

However, the Reds almost claimed a comical opening goal in the 14th minute.

Right-back Jordan Clarke almost sliced a Toney cross into his own net.

Former Red Jim O’Brien looked lively throughout, and he disappointingly blazed a chance over the top from 15 yards.

As the game continued at a slow pace, with a sprinkling of Reds players looking as though they had Wembley on their minds, O’Brien then found space on the edge of the box before drilling wide.

The hosts had another opportunity to break the deadlock six minutes before the interval when Toney headed wide following a smart whipped-in cross from Adam Hammill.

The Reds improved in the second half, but only slightly.

The hosts went close just two minutes after the restart when Conor Hourihane cracked in a super volley which Murray Wallace blocked bravely.

At the other end, the Iron ought to have done better when Williams was perfectly teed up by Tom Hopper, only for the midfielder to side-foot wide when under pressure from Alfie Mawson.

The Reds were then thwarted by two super saves from Luke Daniels inside the space of 60 seconds.

First, the Iron ‘keeper was brilliant in tipping over a piledriver from Hourihane.

From the resultant corner-kick from Hammill, Daniels produced a breath-taking point-blank stop to keep out Marc Roberts’ thumping header.

After that the game petered out in the final 20 minutes, with the Reds now undoubtedly hoping for an improvement in Monday’s next assignment at Port Vale.

Barnsley: Davies, White, Roberts, Mawson, G Williams, Scowen, Brownhill, Hourihane, Hammill, Toney, Chapman (Tuton, 65).

Subs not used: Townsend, Smith, Nyatanga, Khan, McCourt, Harris.

Yellow cards: Scowen (37), Roberts (60).

Scunthorpe: Daniels, Clarke, Mirfin, Wallace, Townsend, Williams (King, 86), Ness (Laird, 87), Hopper, Dawson, O’Brien (Adelakun, 50), Madden.

Subs not used: Anyon, Vose, Goode, Sutton.

Yellow cards: King (90).

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Att: 10,122.

Star man: Conor Hourihane.

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