Match report: Leeds 0 Barnsley 0

Barnsley's Marcus Tudgay wins the ball from Tom Lees
Barnsley's Marcus Tudgay wins the ball from Tom Lees
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The Danny Wilson factor worked a treat as his battling Barnsley side picked up a well-deserved point for their new manager.

The Reds remain rooted to the foot of the Championship despite their spirited efforts, but the early signs are promising, especially given Wilson only had two days to work with his new squad before his first match in charge.

The visitors were good value for a share of the spoils in what proved to be a fiery Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.

This lively goalless draw was the first time the Reds have kept a cleansheet away from home since April.

The last time they managed to hold firm at the back and not concede - and that was under former manager David Flitcroft’s troubled stewardship - was a 0-0 draw away to Nottingham Forest in their penultimate away game of last season.

But this season the club’s away form has been poor, one of the main reasons Flitcroft was relieved of his duties.

Already Wilson has changed the Reds’ luck. It’s amazing what the so-called ‘new manager syndrome’ can do for confidence. And there was clearly an element of freshness in the Reds as they gave their arch-rivals a real run for their money in the first half.

Wilson wasted no time in making changes to his side and handed starts to two players who have, respectively, rarely featured or who had previously not played this season.

Those choices proved wise ones as the experienced Bobby Hassell, who hardly got a look-in under Flitcroft, starred in a central midfield role, while Lewin Nyatanga made his debut at left-back in place of the omitted Tom Kennedy.

Their experience helped, and the return of winger Jim O’Brien, with Paddy McCourt missing through injury, offered the Reds extra workrate in midfield.

But the Reds also rode their luck at times and, had it had not been for a string of fine saves from Stoke City loan keeper Jack Butland, then this might have been an afternoon to forget for Wilson in his second term in charge at Oakwell.

There is also the unwanted headache of being without striker Marcus Tudgay for the next three matches of what will be a busy Christmas period for the Reds.

Nottingham Forest loanee Tudgay was sent off for a careless two-footed lunge on Leeds defender Marius Zaliukas with six minutes remaining. Tudgay could play one more game, at home to Coventry City in the FA Cup, but his loan is then up unless it is extended.

Either way, his dismissal for a straight red card meant that the Reds had to cling on for 12 minutes - six were added for injury time - with ten men.

They managed it, and Wilson understandably took heart from his team’s resilience and fighting spirit.

“We deserve a bit of credit for the way we played, especially to come here in a derby game like this,” said Wilson.

“We came with a real positive attitude. We didn’t want to just come here and make up the numbers, we wanted to show what type of players we’ve got.”

Wilson beamed: “The lads were brilliant. Their discipline was fantastic.

“It was difficult when we went down to ten men, but even the boys who are not-renowned for their work ethic and are better on the ball, well they put in a real shift in for us. And that’s the type of application we’re going to need in the coming games.”

Wilson had no qualms with Tudgay’s red card but stressed his striker was not trying to be malicious.

He joked: “He’s a striker. They can’t tackle can they to save their lives?

“But it wasn’t malicious and he’s not that type of guy. It looked worse than it was, but the referee was right on top of the incident.

“We’re not going to appeal the decision. It’s not that we don’t want to appeal, but I just don’t know how the process works. If the referee deems it a high tackle then they [the Football Association] won’t overturn it. So it’s not worth doing.”

After only four minutes Leeds could have gone ahead, but Butland made a brilliant point-blank save to deny striker Matt Smith.

It was a wake-up the Reds didn’t want, but to their credit they responded when O’Brien shot wide of the left upright.

Butland denied Smith again from close-range, albeit with a much more comfortable save, before the recalled Hassell rifled wide with a long-range volley.

Tudgay had a header from a Hassell cross tipped over the bar by Whites keeper Paddy Kenny, while at the other end goal machine Luke McCormack shot wide.

The Reds should have gone in front five minutes before the break, but from O’Brien’s acrobatic overhead kick pass Tudgay blasted wide of the left post. It was a bad miss. No wonder the striker held his head in his hands, flummoxed he hadn’t broken the deadlock.

Smith headed over just before half-time and then less then a minute after the restart Butland did well to deflect Danny Pugh’s stinging shot away for a corner.

McCormack shot straight at Butland shortly after the hour mark and then the keeper produced another top save, tipping Smith’s header from a Pugh corner over the crossbar.

Jacob Mellis volleyed into the side netting having beaten the offside trap as the Reds countered, then Smith blasted a shot across the face of goal with 13 minutes remaining.

Tudgay was then given his marching orders for his needless two-footed tackle on Zaliukas, but Wilson’s charges held firm to make the journey home all the sweeter.