Barnsley 2 Bristol City 2: Hammill saves Reds in feisty Oakwell clash
Sub Adam Hammill rescued a deserved share of the spoils with a 91st-minute leveller for the Reds at the end of a ding-dong battle.
It was certainly an eventful day for front-man and skipper-for-the-day Sam Winnall, who missed a penalty and ended the game with a bandaged head after he appeared to have been stamped on in the first half.
Referee Geoff Eltringham brandished six yellow cards in the end - three for each side.
Heckingbottom said: “It would have been a travesty if we hadn’t got anything out of the game.
“You have to be satisfied with a point I suppose after scoring a late equaliser, but there were lots of pleasing things to look back on. Maybe we should have won.
“We could have been two or 3-0 up at one point and the game would have been easier for us, but then you find yourself 2-1 down and scrambling to get a point. We managed to do it, though.”
Marley Watkins headed home Andy Yiadom’s 21st-minute cross, before Winnall saw his first-half stoppage-time spot-kick saved by Frank Fielding after he had been felled by ex-Red Scott Golbourne.
Lee Tomlin equalised from the spot after Adam Jackson handled Golbourne’s cross, before Adam Armstrong thumped the crossbar for the Reds and Bristol striker Aaron Wilbraham saw a header brilliantly tipped onto the post by Adam Davies.
Tammy Abraham’s 12th goal of the season handed the visitors the lead, before Hammill slotted in from an acute angle in added time.
ex-boss’s warm reception
Lee Johnson admitted it was ‘nice to be back’ at Oakwell, eight months after his sudden departure for Bristol City.
Johnson received a generally warm reception from the home fans as he made his first appearance at Oakwell since his shock switch eight months ago.
“It was a roller-coaster day for me I guess,” said the Bristol boss after the exciting 2-2 draw.
Newmarket-born Johnson (35) joined the Reds from then League One rivals Oldham on February 25, 2015, eventually staying with the Oakwell club for a fraction under 12 months.
He was in charge for 52 games, winning 21, drawing 13 and losing 18.
It was a a relatively brief reign which consisted of a number of ups and downs. It began with a run of four straight wins, but then went nine games without a win until a 5-0 thumping of Rochdale on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign.
Midway through the following season the Reds lost EIGHT league games on the spin - and were dumped out of the FA Cup at minnows Altrincham - but fortunes turned from December last year onwards, culminating with sealing a place in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley the night before he took the job at Ashton Gate.
Praise for debutant kay
Paul Heckingbottom praised teenage debutant Josh Kay after he was a shock addition to the starting XI against Bristol City.
The former AFC Fylde man was thrown in for a senior debut after Conor Hourihane was ruled out through suspension, and he performed well in the heart of the Reds’ midfield.
“Josh did well and he has to be pleased with himself,” said Heckingbottom.
“Not only was it his debut, he’s new to our club too. He’s had a massive step up to this level from the standard of football he’s been used to.
“But credit to him, this game will have been a huge eye-opener for him.”