Peterborough 2 (Bostwick 28, Rowe 87)
Barnsley 1 (Harewood 77)
A tale of two halves wasn’t reflected in the score-line at London Road as the Reds suffered a narrow defeat to their relegation rivals Peterborough United.
Marlon Harewood sprang from the bench and appeared to have rescued a point for his side but Barnsley’s defence once again let them down at the other end in the 87th minute.
It only took four minutes for Steele to be tested when Gayle received a square ball from Tomlin after he capitalised on a slip by Stephen Dawson.
Golbourne had to delay his sixth-minute cross with no red shirt in the box, eventually he delivered for Dawson but Posh cleared before he or Stones could get a hold of the ball.
The game was struggling to find a rhythm and by 20 minutes Davies saw a shot deflect into the hands of Olejnik. Moments later Davies should have scored when he found himself eight yards out – Scott Golbourne did the hard work and played a one-two with O’Brien before teeing up the Reds’ leading scorer but Olejnik tipped his effort over with a wonderful save.
On 28 minutes the home side found the lead when an expertly dispatched free-kick beat Luke Steele. Michael Bostwick thumped home from 22 yards into the near post.
Barely 30 seconds after the restart Peterborough almost found a second but for McNulty’s last-ditch tackle.
Two minutes past half an hour saw Steele in action again as his defence persisted in giving Posh that half a yard. Gayle then went close as he searched for his side’s second but hammered over after drifting in from the left.
Lee Tomlin was allowed all the time in the world before unleashing a vicious strike at goal which Steele parried before gathering at the second attempt.
A decent chance fell the way of the Reds on 43 minutes when Kennedy whipped in a decent effort from the right corner of the penalty box but Olejnik blocked well before his defenders cleared.
Chris Dagnall registered the first attempt of the second half following his drifting run from the left but Olejnik parried wide. On 48 minutes O’Brien found Dagnall but the Posh defenders crowded Barnsley out of the box.
Barnsley forced Peterborough onto the back foot and went close with a Davies header but Zakuani blocked on the line when he directed a Stones cross towards the far post. Davies then tumbled in the box when O’Brien whipped in a wicked low cross and no other shirt was on hand to slam home. It was a very bright start from Barnsley.
Chris Dagnall worked wonders to dance his way into the box on 62 minutes but saw his brilliant effort stopped at the final hurdle thanks to a last-ditch block. Dagnall was working his socks off, as usual, and deserves his first Barnsley league goal.
Barely a minute after Dagnall had gone close he had Olejnik stranded when he curled a wonderful effort from 22 yards at goal but it clipped the outside of the right post.
Barnsley made their first change with Marlon Harewood coming on for Craig Davies in attack.
On 71 minutes Stephen Dawson surged forward and powered a shot in from 25 yards but it drifted just wide. The Dubliner was searching for his fifth Barnsley goal since signing little less than a year ago.
It just wasn’t falling for the Reds and Harewood teed up O’Brien only for Brisley to get a block in with just Olejnik to beat.
It appeared not to be Barnsley’s day as Marlon Harewood drifted in to thump home the equaliser for the Reds and was busy celebrating with the travelling supporters before the referee’s assistant held his flag up. After a minute of consultation the goal was given. It was utter confusion at London Road but Barnsley were level.
Not long after the equaliser Harewood forced Olejnik into a great save at his near post after showing more quality footwork. Barnsley were in the ascendency.
But it wasn’t Barnsley’s day when they failed to properly clear which allowed Tommy Rowe the chance to thunder home from 15 yards on 87 minutes.
The Reds huffed and puffed but the second goal had deflated their spirits and even Luke Steele came up for a corner that he almost got his head to but it wasn’t the Reds’ day.
Peterborough United: Olejnik, Brisley (Knight-Percival 90+3), Zakuani, Bostwick, Tomlin (Kearns 88), Boyd, Rowe, Newell, Ferdinand, Little, Gayle.
Subs: Day, Alcock, Swanson, McCann, Kearns, , Gordon.
Reds: Steele, Golbourne, Dawson, O’Brien, Davies (Harewood 67), Perkins, Dagnall, McNulty, Cranie, Kennedy, Stones.
Subs: Alnwick, Foster, Done, Cywka, Noble-Lazarus, Greening.