Blank at Brentford gives Heckingbottom something to cheer - Bees 0 Barnsley 0

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom was clearly relieved to have ended a run of five straight Championship defeats at Brentford.

The gutsy Reds secured a hard-earned goalless draw at Griffin Park as their troubling run came to an end, on a day when they also registered a first away-day shutout in 18 games.

That run of conceding on their travels had stretched back to last April when they won at Blackburn.

Heckingbottom said: “I was pleased with the point we deserved.

“In the second half in particular, I thought we were pretty comfortable.

“We had some really good opportunities on the break and spells where we got in behind, and probably could have done better.

“Brentford are a good side and I like watching them play.

“I like what they try and do.

“We knew it was going to be difficult, and we had to accept that challenge.

“I thought we got better as the game went on and that pleased me too.”

Adam Davies was called upon early on to keep out Brentford’s French striker Neal Maupay.

However, the Reds dragged themselves into contention before the interval.

Mamadou Thiam went close, while strike partner Tom Bradshaw fired disappointingly wide from a terrific position.

Bradshaw fluffed another good chance in the second period, while Harvey Barnes’ superbly-executed free-kick was well saved by Dan Bentley.

George Moncur also tested Bentley, but the game ended scoreless.

Shut-out boost for Hecky

Paul Heckingbottom took plenty of heart from the Reds’ performance on Saturday, and was particularly happy to have secured a long-awaited clean sheet on the road.

Of course victory wasn’t sealed, but a first clean sheet in 18 away games ought to lift the mood in the dressing room.

“Everyone talks about goals and assists, but they don’t guarantee you points,” said Heckingbottom. “Clean sheets do.

“Don’t forget we’re a totally different squad than last season. There are different deficiencies if you like, but we’re still working hard to improve on all of them. We’ve got qualities that can really hurt teams, but we also have to be strong enough to withstand anything that people throw at us.

“Saturday’s result was a boost for us.

“This league is absolutely crazy. Just look at Brentford.

“They didn’t win in their first eight games and then they’ve been in promotion-chasing form.

“We prepared well for this game, though, and it’s important you do that at this level.”

Central defender Matty Pearson injured his calf at Griffin Park and will be a doubt for the Reds’ next fixture - another away task at Fulham on Saturday.

Gutsy display offers plenty of hope

Barnsley’s battlers proved that they have still got plenty of fire in their belly’s at Brentford.

Never an easy place to visit, the closed-in Griffin Park stadium can be intimidating for some.

But the Reds were good value for their share of the spoils, and the dismal run of five straight defeats was brought to a halt.

Paul Heckingbottom’s men will have to parade much more of that fighting spirit over the next few weeks, not least this coming weekend when they head to the capital again to take on Fulham.

The travelling army will have been encouraged on Saturday, though.

Was this a turning point for the Reds?