MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 1 Barnsley 1
Ipswich v Barnsley: IPSWICH Town have now drawn 1-1 at home against all three of the sides in the Championship relegation zone after Barnsley deservedly grabbed a late equaliser at Portman Road.
The second-from-bottom Tykes were by far the better team in the opening half as the Blues struggled to get to grips with the visitors’ 5-3-2 formation.
Town had been fortunate to still be level come the break, but they improved significantly after the restart and Luke Chambers produced a neat finish on the turn in the 56th minute after Barnsley had failed to clear a deep free-kick.
Barnsley – who had seen striker Marlon Harewood spurn several golden opportunities – continued to look a threat though and they grabbed a deserved share of the spoils in the 88th minute when teenage substitute Danny Rose converted a stooping header.
The Blues have now drawn 1-1 against all three of the division’s bottom three sides – Bristol City, Peterborough and Barnsley – under manager Mick McCarthy and remain six points clear of the drop zone.
McCarthy named an unchanged side for the visit of Barnsley following a superb goalless draw at table-toppers Cardiff City the previous weekend.
Barnsley were full of confidence themselves though, with David Flitcroft named permanent boss in the build-up following good home wins against Burnley and Leeds under his caretaker management.
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Ipswich started well, but a serious injury to Stephen Dawson in the eighth minute – the visiting midfielder stretchered off after a lengthy delay – altered the flow of the game.
Barnsley’s extra man in the middle of the park began to make a difference, with the hosts unable to retain possession for any length of time.
Harewood produced a weak attempt on goal one-on-one in the 24th minute, while moments later Chambers blazed a golden chance over the bar from little over six yards for the hosts.
Both sides then had chances to break the deadlock in first-half stoppage-time. First, Harewood hit the post when Mellis’ through ball gave him all the time in the world one-on-one, while, at the other end, Steele produced a good save from David McGoldrick’s close-range far post header.
Town improved after the restart and finally began to dictate the tempo of the match.
The opening goal arrived in the 56th minute when David Perkins cynically hauled back Lee Martin on his way to goal. Aaron Cresswell clipped the resulting free-kick into the box, McGoldrick nodded it down and, after Tommy Smith failed to connect properly with an acrobatic attempt, Chambers spun expertly to fire the loose ball home.
You never got the sense that the game was safe though as Barnsley continued to look a goal threat.
Harewood skewed a good chance wide in the 70th minute, while Chris Dagnall headed inches past the post five minutes later after ghosting onto a deep free-kick.
And it looked like it wouldn’t be Barnsley – or Harewood’s day – when the striker couldn’t adjust in time to convert Perkins’ low cross right on the goal line.
In the end, it took Barnsley-born substitute Rose who showed veteran Harewood how it’s done. The 19-year-old – yet to make his full league debut – stooped to send a fantastic header past keeper Scott Loach from Tom Kennedy’s corner.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Loach; Orr, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards (cpt), N’Daw, Hyam, Martin (Murphy 68); Mclean (Nouble 59), McGoldrick (Chopra 75).
Subs: Lee-Barrett, Kisnorbo, Drury.
BARNSLEY (5-3-2): Steele (cpt); Stones, Kennedy, Foster, Cranie, Golbourne (Done 68); Dawson (Etuhu 14), Perkins, Mellis (Rose 85); Dagnall, Harewood.
Subs: Hassell, Foster, Noble-Lazarus.
Booked: Perkins (55)
Attendance: 15,513 (175 away)
Referee: Nigel Miller
Conditions: Sub-zero, bobbly surface