Barnsley Match Report: Wilson happy to take a point

Conor Hourihane (8), celebrates with Luke Berry after conor opens the scoring for the reds.
Conor Hourihane (8), celebrates with Luke Berry after conor opens the scoring for the reds.
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In the end Barnsley boss Danny Wilson was delighted to head back north from Yeovil with a point following a typical ‘game of two halves’ at Huish Park.

The Reds fired themselves into the lead just before the half-hour mark thanks to another Conor Hourihane howitzer - his third goal of the season already - only for the tables to turn in the second period as the Glovers dominated and eventually gained the reward they deserved with 14 minutes left.

Wilson was far from disappointed, however, as his young team battled hard for their point and are now unbeaten in four Sky Bet League One games.

Wilson said: “We dominated the first half and should have had more goals to take in at the break.

“We played some very good football and Yeovil had Chris Weale in goal who made some very good saves.

“The second half was quite the opposite with Adam Davies making some good saves.

“It was the proverbial game of two halves, and I’m delighted that we’ll be taking a point back with us at the end of the day.

“Maybe there was a lack of experience out there at times, some of our linkage play was pretty poor at times, but when we all look back at the game, this has been a very good point for us.”

There had been no surprises when the teamsheets were dished out.

Boss Wilson kept faith with the team that had thumped Gillingham 4-1 at Oakwell seven days previously.

Midfielder James Bailey was still out through injury, while defender Joe Dudgeon was in for what was due to be the final game of his loan spell from Hull City.

However, Wilson later confirmed that the highly-rated left-back has extended his Reds stay until January at least.

Despite second-half goalscoring heroics in the Gillingham victory, youngster Devante Cole and wide-man Dale Jennings still couldn’t force themselves into the starting XI from the bench.

The Reds turned in a terrific first-half performance and deservedly went in at the break with a one-goal lead.

And that solitary goal was another cracker from Hourihane.

With 27 minutes gone the impressive summer signing from Plymouth latched on to a flicked pass inside from Luke Berry and positively smashed home a first-time shot from 25 yards that whistled past Glovers’ ‘keeper Weale and into the top corner of the net.

It was a super strike and the midfielder’s third of the season already, but before that the visitors had created a number of decent opportunities.

Keith Treacy - before limping off injured after half-an-hour with a groin injury - twice tested Weale with well-struck shots, while Reece Brown also saw a drilled effort beaten away by the ‘keeper.

After the Reds had taken the lead, Gary Johnson’s rallied with purpose before half-time, but Simon Gillett fired over the crossbar from a good position and Adam Davies dived low to keep out A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s shot from the edge of the box.

The hosts carried that late first-half momentum into the start of the second, and in the end they were go on and register the equaliser their forceful play warranted.

Substitute Kieffer Moore - who replaced the injured Simon Gillett seconds before the interval - was immediately a threat with his height, and he quickly tested Davies.

The Reds’ ‘keeper was then called upon to beat away a goal-bound strike from Joe Edwards as the hosts were on the front foot.

Youngster Brad Abbott somewhat relieved the pressure on Barnsley with a sweet strike which Weale saved well down low, but the Glovers were soon back on the offensive again as Moore headed onto the roof of the net.

The goal the hosts had been threatening finally arrived with 14 minutes left on the clock.

And it was an unfortunate one for Martin Cranie - up against his home-town club - as he could only divert Leitch-Smith’s shot past Davies with what was a failed clearance attempt.

That was the moment which gave Yeovil fresh hope of grabbing their second victory of the season, and their tails were up.

Davies was twice more at his brilliant best to keep out Moore’s header and a fizzing drive from Leitch-Smith, while both sides both fluffed gilt-edged opportunities in the dying minutes.

First, Reds’ sub Devante Cole ought to have done better as he scuffed a shot towards Weale after latching on to a super cross from Dale Jennings, while at the other end goal hero Hourihane saved the Reds when he hacked Moore’s late, late strike off the line.

Both sides had given it everything, but a repeat of the 4-1 Reds win in the corresponding fixture last season rarely looked on the cards.