Paul Heckingbottom hailed it as a “massive” point but, after bemoaning the referee’s decision to deny Barnsley a first-half goal, the Reds manager felt aggrieved his team did not depart Bramall Lane having secured all three.
Ashley Fletcher thought he had put the visitors ahead when, during the closing stages of the first half, he beat Sheffield United goalkeeper George Long only for the effort to be disallowed for a foul on Ryan Flynn.
Although Nigel Adkins’ later backed David Coote’s interpretation of events - “There’s no issue there” - Heckingbottom questioned whether Sam Winnall’s tug on the United midfielder was worthy of censure.
“It was a soft disallowed goal,” he said. “I can’t see a foul and we watched it back during the interval, but if you see something different then you see something different.”
Heckingbottom’s frustration at the official’s call quickly dissipated when, following Gillingham’s defeat by Shrewsbury Town, Barnsley moved above Justin Edinburgh’s side into sixth after holding ninth-placed United to a goalless draw in front of a near-24,000 crowd.
“You can go ‘what if’ all the time, you can blame the referee,” Heckingbottom continued. “Today it went against us and more decisions will go against us between now and the end of the season. Sometimes they matter, sometimes they don’t.
“Today it did. But if you are relying on other people to win you games then you aren’t going to get anywhere.”
“We play the game in a certain way and we want to be comfortable at the back so we’re not going to go chasing it,” Heckingbottom added. “We could have created a few more opportunities than we did though.
“I thought the whole team defended great. When you are keeping clean sheets, the emphasis is always going to be on the back four.”