Reds fail to find a way past a stubborn Preston North End side.
Barnsley produced a battling performance but were held at home to a goalless draw by Preston North End.
In a game of few opportunities, both sides were left frustrated, with Matty James’ low effort and Adam Armstrong’s snap shot the best chances in a tense first half.
Armstrong’s ambitious 35-yard volley dipped just wide while a driven Josh Scowen shot brought a good save out of Chris Maxwell, with Tom Bradshaw also having an effort cleared off the line.
The Lilywhites almost won it in the final moments when Jordan Hugill sent a header towards the top corner, but Adam Davies was alert to the danger and turned the ball away to safety.
The draw leaves the Reds ninth in the table, four points outside the play-off places.
The first opening of the game fell the way of the Reds as Adam Armstrong flung himself at a Marley Watkins cross, but could not direct his header on target.
A clever free kick routine between Ryan Kent and Josh Scowen saw the latter slipped in by the winger only for a last ditch challenge to block his effort on target.
Aiden McGeady’s driven ball across goal was deflected awkwardly towards Adam Davies but just wide of the mark before the Welsh stopper denied Simon Makienok’s towering header at the far post.
Matty James responded for the Reds, taking aim from the edge of the area and sliding an effort just past Chris Maxwell’s upright, and Maxwell had to be alert to save Callum Elder’s low centre.
A flowing one-touch Preston move almost gifted them the opener as Makienok slotted in Jordan Hugill nine minutes before the break, only to pull his effort wide of the target.
Preston felt they should have had a penalty just before the break when Hugill went down under the challenge of Gethin Jones, only for the Preston forward's protests to fall on deaf ears.
An excellent run from Ryan Kent at the end of the half saw him skip past four challenges before appearing to be upended in the area.
His penalty appeals were waved away and as the ball spun loose, Armstrong drove an effort at goal, which Maxwell just managed to save with his legs.
HALF TIME: Barnsley 0-0 Preston North End.
It was a bright start to the second half by the Reds as Armstrong drove a low effort directly at Maxwell within the opening 30 seconds of the second half.
Then, Marc Roberts got a vital touch on a low cross from the right to turn the ball away from Adam Davies’ goal with Hugill lurking at the far post.
An ambitious drive from Armstrong from the best part of 35 yards almost looped over Maxwell, but the ball dropped just wide of the target.
Another Reds move, started by a long ball down the line from Angus MacDonald, almost culminated in a goal for Kent, but the ball bobbled up as he took aim.
Josh Scowen was the first name in the book for the Reds after stopping McGeady’s run on the edge of the area, only for Gallagher to curl the resulting free kick wide.
McGeady was cautioned for halting Kent in full flight and but for a clearance off the line, Tom Bradshaw would have opened the scoring on 66 minutes with a chance at the far post.
Scowen went close with another powerful effort from 20 yards which Maxwell did well to gather and Preston’s Ben Pearson was booked for dissent as the game entered its final ten minutes.
Alan Browne was cautioned for a poorly timed challenge on Scowen late on and Adam Davies preserved a point for the Reds in stoppage time, clawing away a looping Hugill header from the centre of the box.
Substitute Adam Hammill had the final chance of the match when he let fly from range, only for Maxwell to gather his effort and preserve his clean sheet.
Attendance: 12,590 (1,269 away).
Reds: Davies (GK), Jones, Roberts (c), MacDonald, Elder, Watkins, James, Scowen, Kent (Hedges, 83’ ), Bradshaw (Hammill, 68’ ), Armstrong.
Subs: Townsend (GK), Moncur, Lee, Evans, A. Jackson.
Preston North End: Maxwell (GK), Browning, Clarke (c), Huntington, Cunningham, McGeady, Browne, Pearson, Gallagher (Robinson, 66’ ), Makienok (Beckford, 72’ ), Hugill.
Subs: Lindegaard (GK), Vermijl, Horgan, Johnson, May.