Flitcroft happy with Reds revival

A happy Barnsley manager David Flitcroft at full time.
A happy Barnsley manager David Flitcroft at full time.
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Barnsley boss David Flitcroft was adamant his battling side could have come away from Portman Road with more than a point.

Substitute Jim O’Brien’s sweet strike 20 minutes from time cancelled out Daryl Murphy’s 41st minute headed opener for the Tractor Boys.

But the Reds were by far the superior side in the second half, although they survived a late penalty appeal when former Barnsley loanee Frank Nouble went tumbling in the box after a clash with Jean-Yves M’voto.

Thankfully all their hard work wasn’t undone as referee Andy D’Urso waved away a number of Ipswich players who strongly contested the decision.

One of those players Aaron Cresswell said too much and was sent-off by the Essex official after the final whistle.

That controversy aside this clash was really a game of two halves. Ipswich were on top in the opening 45 minutes, but a tough team talk from Flitcroft worked wonders with the Reds rejuvenated following the resumption.

And a point was the Reds’ first on the road this season.

Flitcroft’s side are still in the relegation zone despite picking up five points from their last three matches.

But at least there is progress after their worst start to a league season for nearly 50 years: “We deserved more from that second-half showing,” reflected Flitcroft.

“Ipswich are in a false position as they are one of the top teams in the division.

“They’ve got Mick’s [McCarthy’s] energy, they’ve got his enthusiasm and desire.

“In the first half we didn’t match their commitment and desire but in the second half we did and they couldn’t live with us. The tempo of our play was fantastic and I am happy with quite a lot of the performances.”

A mistake from skipper Martin Cranie looked to have cost his side dear after he failed to pick up Murphy from a corner and the striker headed powerfully inside the right-hand upright.

But O’Brien pounced for his first goal since February to make sure of a point.

The hosts had the better of the first half chances after a steady 20 minutes in whichboth sides failed to threaten.

The only talking point of the opening exchanges was when Chris O’Grady cut Ipswich defender Tommy Smith just above his right eye with a leading elbow.

Smith headed over soon after when, ironically, O’Grady miscued a clearance into his own box.

A minute later Paul Anderson volleyed over with a fine right-fot-strike after David McGoldrick had chested the ball into his path.

Cranie gave the ball away, got back to chase Creswell, but the left-back’s left-wing cross deflected off the defender and Reds’ keeper Jack Butland had to make a smart block at his near post.

Leading scorer McGoldrick blazed high and wide with an ambitious effort as the home team continued to press for an opener.

Then Cresswell rifled a cross-come shot across the face of goal after a darting run down the left-hand side.

Luke Chambers headed over from an Anderson corner as Ipswich continued to dominate, before the deadlock was finally broken.

With Jacob Mellis temporarily off the pitch with an ankle injury, the Reds were down to ten men and McCarthy’s side took full advantage.

Cranie lost Murphy and the centre-back powered a header into the bottom right corner four minutes before the break.

On the stroke of half-time Anderson shot straight at Butland and three minutes after the interval Murphy forced the Stoke City loan keeper into action at his near post.

O’Grady had a shot brilliantly saved by Dean Gerken as the Reds came within a whisker of equalising.

O’Brien powered over from distance a minute later as the visitors started to play with more freedom. Norway international Marcus Pedersen shot over in the 68th minute, before two minutes later O’Brien pounced for the equaliser.

McCourt’s whipped-in cross from the left was flicked on by Smith and O’Brien coolly slotted into the bottom left corner.

Sub Jason Scotland had two good chances to win it against his former club, but he had a goalbound shot blocked and then rifled into the side netting

Former Reds’ loanee Nouble had a penalty appeal turned down in injury time after going down from a challenge from M’voto, but the Reds held on for a welcome point.