BARNSLEY 1 (Hammill 47)
DERBY COUNTY 1 (Leacock 15)
BARNSLEY never really hit the heights and were held to a draw at Oakwell against a Derby side who looked far better than their poor start to the season had indicated.
Barnsley manager Mark Robins, unsurprisingly, named an unchanged side for the visit of Derby County as the Reds looked to capitalise fully on Tuesday's hammering of Leeds United. It was arguably the biggest game of the season so far for the Reds who needed back-to-back wins to show the Barnsley faithful that something special is building at Oakwell. The Reds last managed four consecutive home wins in December 2007.
Derby were dangerous opposition despite coming into the game without a win since the opening day of the season. That victory was at a packed Elland Road and the Rams will be looking to kick start their campaign.
The visitors were quickly out of the blocks at Oakwell with Alberto Bueno firing a shot in anger with just 30 seconds on the clock. Thankfully for the Reds Jason Shackell was in the right place to deflect the Spaniard's effort well wide.
Barnsley were visibly brimming with confidence and pretty much took up from where they left off on Tuesday night. First Andy Gray nodded wide on three minutes from a pinpoint Jim O'Brien cross and then Garry O'Connor was inches away from turning the ball goalward seconds later after the Reds winger had again whipped one in from out wide.
The Reds' early enthusiasm almost came at a cost on six minutes as Kris Commons was allowed time and space to turn and shoot but the frontman blazed high over under pressure from Shackell.
Barnsley's early promise was undone on 15 minutes in controversial fashion after the officials failed to give a blatant offside against Kuqi and instead the Rams somehow managed to sneak a corner. Ben Pringle's delivery then caused chaos in the Reds area and Dean Leacock reacted quickest to scramble home from close range. Controversial.
Green then tested his shooting boots three minutes later under pressure on the edge of the area but his low drive flew well, well wide of the target.
The goal subdued the Reds but slowly the home side managed to get a foothold back in the contest. Jay McEveley headed over from Jacob Butterfield's free kick on 24 minutes; neither Gray nor O'Connor could scramble Bobby Hassell's cross home on 26 minutes while Hammill blazed a shot well wide of the mark seconds later with the top corner gaping.
Hassell then picked out a great pass to send O'Connor away behind Leacock on 28 minutes and the striker took his shot early but it was straight at Stephen Bywater.
Hammill's soft foul on Green gave Derby a great chance on 29 minutes with a free kick right on the edge of the area. Commons smashed his effort into the wall and wide. Bueno then fired one over seconds later after finding a yard to shoot in the area under pressure.
Leacock picked up a yellow card on 31 minutes for a trip on Hammill as the winger looked to break downfield.
Derby got lucky two minutes later when a bad challenge on O'Connor went unpunished as the ball squirmed out to Hammill, who brought a fine save from Bywater with a rasping drive from just inside the box.
Butterfield then tested his shooting boots on 37 minutes from distance but his powerfully struck effort was always rising and sailed over the top.
The Reds went agonisingly close to an equaliser on 39 minutes as Diego Arismendi saw a well-struck volley blocked on the line from Jay McEveley's corner. Gray could not turn it into the net in the scramble that followed while Hammill also went close as the ball just would not go into the net.
Barnsley could have been on level terms on 44 minutes as Hammill's wonderful cross from the right caught out the Derby defence but had Gray in two minds and the ball squirmed through to Bywater. It was another chance.
With no changes at the break, the Reds were quickly on the front foot and level inside two minutes of the restart. Again the home side pressed well up the field and the ball eventually came through to Hammill, who wasted no time in breaking clear and planted a fine shot past Bywater. Game on!
Barnsley almost had their noses in front just moments later as Butterfield brought an outstanding save from Bywater under pressure from Gray. The ball then fell to O'Brien, who saw his goalbound effort well blocked away from an open goal.
An inconsistent and frustrating performance by referee David Webb culminated in another great opportunity for the visitors when Butterfield upended Bueno on the edge of the box. The Spaniard took the free kick himself but his effort was well off target in the end.
Steele's lack of a action throughout the game almost cost the Reds dear on 63 minutes as the Reds keeper was half asleep as Dean Moxey whipped the ball in and allowed it to squeeze out of his hands and almost into the far corner. McEveley was in the right place to kick the ball off the line and the Scot reacted quickest to block Pringle's effort on the rebound.
At the other end Green's clumsy foul on O'Brien gave O'Connor the chance put his foot through a 30-yard free kick on 67 minutes but the striker was off target. Green then volleyed just over seconds later as play swung from one end to the other. It was a cracking second half.
Barnsley had lost all control of the game and Leacock's run through the heart of the field on 70 minutes opened up the Reds to give Kuqi a chance but the Finn blazed well, well wide. Stephen Pearson the almost capitalised on some more sloppy defending on 73 minutes as he popped up unmarked on the edge of the box but saw his curler deflect off Shackell and away.
Substitute Kieran Trippier picked up a booking on 83 minutes for a late challenge on Green before Butterfield was forced out of the action two minutes later with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Nathan Doyle.
O'Connor had a great chance to win it on 86 minutes as he met Arismendi's cross but Bywater was in the right place to block. O'Connor went close again seconds later as he met Hammill's corner but saw his glancing header kicked away off the line.
BARNSLEY: Steele, Hassell, Foster, Shackell, McEveley, O'Brien (Trippier 75), Butterfield (Doyle 85), Arismendi, Hammill, O'Connor, Gray (Dickinson 80).
Subs: Preece, Lovre, Neumann, Devaney.
DERBY COUNTY: Bywater, Brayford, Green, Barker, Leacock, Kuqi (O'Brien 90), Commons (Cwyka 71), Bailey, Pringle, Moxey, Bueno (Pearson 64).
Subs: Savage, Deeney, Martin, Doyle.
HOUSE OF FRASER MAN OF THE MATCH - JACOB BUTTERFIELD
David Webb (County Durham)
Alf Greenwood (North Yorkshire) and Iain Siddall (Lancashire)
Peter Wright (Merseyside)
Match Report by Rob Knowles.
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