PNE supporters have their say on 0-0 draw with Barnsley
A mediocre game at Oakwell with North End and Barnsley taking a share of the spoils on a bright sunny February afternoon in South Yorkshire. The game certainly had an edge to it with Ben Pearson taking his fair share of the stick from the home crowd but in terms of key moments I think that North End probably edged it. The most controversial moment of the game came just before the break when Hugill was flattened in the box but referee Langford, for some inexplicable reason, turned down the visitors’ claims to the astonishment of the 1,269 who had made their way over from Lancashire. In the second half the Tykes hit the post in a goalmouth scramble but, all in all, a draw was probably the right result given the evidence of the 90 minutes. North End played towards the travelling fans in the first half in an all blue kit with the manager adopting a 4-4-2 formation. Makienok and Browne had come in for Johnson and Horgan as North End looked to snap out of a little flat spot that we have been in for the last two or three games. The game was a midfield battle early on although I though the home side looked slightly the better on the ball. Having said that it was North End who almost took the lead when a deflected McGeady shot just drifted past the far post when it looked to be going in. A fast flowing move saw Hugill through in the inside right position but the strikers finishing let him down. Then, just on the stroke of half time, came the penalty claim.In the second period I thought we played slightly better and we had a couple of chances with a Gallagher free kick and a Hugill shot. A strange sort of game to sum up really with Barnsley looking a little bit more composed on the ball but North End probably having the better chances and certainly being denied a penalty. The combination of Makienok and Hugill didn’t really work on this occasion but I thought we looked more resilient in the centre of the park with the return of Alan Browne. Not the best week for North End on the field with just two points from a possible nine although this performance at Barnsley was, without doubt, a few notches up from what we were served in Wales on Tuesday evening when we lost 2-0 to Cardiff.
An encounter at Oakwell that left a lot to be desired by both teams as neither ever really got in to top gear or a real grip on the game. After a defeat midweek, North End will have been hoping to bounce straight back to winning ways as we have done so many times, but things just never really clicked for us as the game drifted out to what could be described as a bore draw. Makienok should have done better with a header 29 minutes in, he could only direct it straight in to the keepers arms to leave him with a simple save, chances we should be doing better with. The same can be said for Hugill as he found space in the area before half-time but could only drag his shot across goal – again should have done better! It would be fair to say we had the better of the game overall, but still never really enough to say we deserved the win. Grayson introduced Robinson and Beckford in the second half but neither really had a massive effect on the game. Robinson losing possession regularly, whilst Beckford just didn’t really contribute much at all. May and Horgan both watched on from the sidelines. As we hit the last 10 minutes, North End really started piling pressure on the home side and it felt like we were going to nick a winner, but a fine save from a Hugill header and a Gallagher free-kick that flew just wide meant it was just the one point.
In recent games we have been slow starters and the game against Barnsley was no exception.In fact both teams came out of the traps as fast as Harold Steptoes lame greyhound and produced a dour first half where neither keeper had to make a save.We could possibly have had a penalty in the closing stages of the half when Hugill went down in the area but that was as close as it came in what was generally an uninspiring first period.In the second half we looked slightly better going forward with my man of the match Aiden McGeady showing his quality and looked a cut above the rest of the players on the pitch although I thought Ben Pearson in midfield showed some tenacity against his former club.The home side also upped the ante a touch in the second half but may as well of had mascot Toby Tyke up front as although they had some good possesional play they lacked creativity and could not get the ball in the box and find a cutting edge.The introduction of Beckford and Robinson injected some urgency and pace into the proceedings but it always looked like this game would be one to bust the both teams to score football coupon.It was not all doom and gloom at the final whistle as personally I would have taken a point before the kick off.However I thought Barnsley were less than an average side at this level and were there for the taking if we had been a bit more adventurous going forward from the off.Simon Grayson inherited an oil tanker sinking in the ocean when he took over at the club four years ago and has turned things around to turn it into a luxury yacht but today’s performance was more akin to that of a tug boat.