BARNSLEY clung on for their fourth successive 1-1 draw having made all the early running against Derby County.
Jacob Butterfield’s 35th minute close-range strike put the Reds on course for an upset, but the Rams ran the show in the second half and snatched a point thanks to Steven Davies on 61 minutes. The Reds lost three players through injury during the match, a big blow with seven first team players already out injured.
It was the first time the Reds had come face-to-face with their former skipper Jason Shackell who captained the Rams. Shackell left the Reds in acrimonious circumstances during pre-season.
Keith Hill’s side started brightly; after only six minutes Man United loan midfielder Danny Drinkwater was teed up by David Perkins and he shot wide of the left upright from 25 yards. A minute later Jim O’Brien was unlucky to see his powerful right-foot shot deflected for a corner.
At the other end Derby’s teenage midfielder Jim Hendrick saw his right-foot curler tipped past his left post by Luke Steele. Butterfield rifled a left-foot shot wide of a post soon after, before Shackell broke free on the counter-attack for the Rams and had a left-foot shot charged down.
Andy Gray, playing as a lone front man, also had a shot charged down, this time in the area after some good work from Ricardo Vaz Te.
Steven Davies had a left-foot strike deflected over the bar after Bobby Hassell was guilty of giving the ball away.
Jimmy McNulty was caught out by a bursting run from Shackell just before the hour mark which resulted in the Rams’ winning a free-kick in a dangerous position.
But from the resulting free-kick Steele pulled off a fine low save from Ben Davies. Shackell rifled over soon after as the Rams pressed for an opener, but four minutes later and Hill’s team were in front. Vaz Te looped the ball back from the byline, Gray headed into the path of Butterfield and the midfielder didn’t waste the chance to bag his second in as many games.
Theo Robinson came within a whisker of equalising, but Steele pulled off a wonder save to turn the striker’s bullet header wide from a Ben Davies cross.
The Reds had earlier lost Perkins with a leg injury shortly after the half hour mark, while Jay McEveley limped off injured six minutes before the break. And in the second half the Reds also lost Vaz Te through injury with 17-year-old Danny Rose introduced as the substitute. Cheered on by their vocal home supporters, it was the Rams who were flying in the second half and after only two minutes Shackell headed over from a Ben Davies corner.
Steven Davies forced a good save with a low drive as Nigel Clough’s team pushed forward, while Robinson curled wide from the edge of the box. Steele saved from Steven Davies again and Robinson had a shot deflected wide as the chances kept coming. The pressure told when Hassell felled Ben Davies inside the area and Steven Davies made no mistake from the spot. Vaz Te dragged a shot wide and Drinkwater had a shot deflected for a corner as the Reds countered, while at the other end Drinkwater had to clear off his goalline.
Robinson had a goal ruled offside for the hosts in the 75th minute.
And the Rams nearly snatched it when Jamie Ward headed against the bar in the 83rd minute from a Ben Davies corner.
Derby County (4-4-2, r-l): Fielding 6, Brayford 6, O’Brien 6, Shackell 7, Roberts 6 (Anderson 16, 6), B Davies 8, Bryson 7, Hendrick 7, S Davies 8, Robinson 7 (Cywka 89), Ward 8. Subs (not used): Legzdins, Croft, Maguire.
Barnsley (4-4-1-1): Steele 8, Hassell 7, Foster 7, McNulty 7, McEveley 5 (Wiseman 39, 6), O’Brien 7, Drinkwater 7, Perkins 6 (Digby 33, 6), Vaz Te 6 (Rose 76, 5), Butterfield 8, Gray 7. Subs (not used): Preece, Clark.
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham)