Steele causes late Hassell

Barnsley 1 Swansea 1

BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins paid tribute to his brave battlers as they came within a whisker of upsetting Championship high-fliers Swansea City at the weekend.

The Reds were favourites to clinch three welcome points thanks to stand-in skipper Bobby Hassell's first goal for over a year.

But again another controversial refereeing decision cost Robins' side as the Swans snatched an equaliser with an 85th-minute penalty strike.

Midfielder Scott Sinclair coolly slotted into the bottom right-hand corner for his fifth goal in four games.

And no wonder Robins was left frustrated after his team dominated the first half and restricted the visitors to a handful of chances.

Swans boss Brendan Rodgers questioned whether Barnsley's goal should have stood after Hassell's header was deemed to have crossed the goalline via the underside of the crossbar.

And he was convinced his side deserved a penalty which, ultimately, proved their lifeline back into the contest.

But it was hardly surprising Robins saw things differently.

"I thought the ball hit the back of the net and it should have never been a penalty," he reflected with a big grin on his face.

He added more seriously: "But if they hadn't of got the penalty I couldn't see them scoring.

"It's disappointing because we've worked very hard. In the first half we passed the ball very well and we were the better side - and we were unfortunate not to go 2-0 up."

New signing Danny Haynes had a well-taken strike cancelled out for offside midway through the half. If that goal had stood then who knows whether the Swans had it in them to stage a comeback.

"We were under pressure in the second half, but that's more to do with tired legs really," said Robins, who started with a makeshift centre-back partnership of Hassell and midfielder Nathan Doyle with regular pairing Stephen Foster and skipper Jason Shackell both suspended.

"I thought we were excellent, though. The second half was more of an even contest, but we just couldn't keep them out.

"I thought everyone acquitted themselves well and put in a decent performance.

"Diego Arismendi didn't train all week and we had one or two players who hadn't performed in positions that they played in today.

"I said to them in the dressing room that I'm proud of them. To come away from the match with one point and be disappointed is testament to how well we played.

"We were playing against a side who are excellent and who were second in the league. We gave a good account of ourselves."

Hassell's 14th-minute header was the perfect start for the Reds as they played much better than a team who started the game 14 places above them in the standings. It was the defender's first goal since December 2009.

The former Mansfield Town man rose tallest at the back post to head Jacob Butterfield's left-wing corner beyond De Vries via the underside of the crossbar.

And Argentinean midfielder Hugo Colace went close to doubling the lead when he tested Swans keeper Dorus De Vries with a dipping right-foot shot, before striker Garry O'Connor had a close-range left-foot shot brilliantly blocked on the line by midfielder Joe Allen.

O'Connor had another shot cleared off the line moments later, this time by right-back Angel Rangel. Sinclair fired wide of the right upright as the Swans went in search of an equaliser, before Steele denied Darren Pratley with a smart pointblank save at his near post.

Steele produced an even better double block to thwart Ashley Williams from a Mark Gower corner, while at the other end debutant Haynes was unlucky to have a strike cancelled out for offside.

Another fine save from Steele denied Gower in the 67th minute.

Substitute Stephen Dobbie fired over and Steele saved well to deny Sinclair, but the keeper's late trip allowed the Swans to pinch a point.

"I'm happy with a point after our first-half performance," reflected Swans manager Rodgers. "I've got to give big applause to Barnsley. I thought they played well in the first half. They play football the right way."

BOSS'S VIEW

It's disappointing because we've worked very hard. The players have acquitted themselves well and done enough to win the game.

We were the better side in the first half and very unfortunate not to go 2-0 up. But unfortunately we couldn't just keep them out.

Got a view? Leave a comment below.

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