Match report: Barnsley 0 PNE 0

Preston North End extended their unbeaten run to eight games after battling out a Boxing Day draw with Barnsley at Oakwell.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 4:18 pm
Updated Friday, 29th December 2017, 7:45 pm
Jordan Hugill is challenged by Barnsley keeper Adam Davies

It was hardly a festive game to get the pulse racing, the second half in particular a bit of a scrap with little quality on show from either side.

The closest North End came to finding the net was a 14th minute shot from Jordan Hugill which hit the post.

At the other end, Chris Maxwell wasn't overly troubled until the closing stages when he made a good save from Harvey Barnes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Daryl Horgan in action at Barnsley

Alex Neil had made three changes to the side which had started the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest last Saturday, Calum Woods, Daryl Horgan and Daniel Johnson coming into the starting XI.

Neil chose not to risk Tom Clarke for a second game in four days so soon after his return from long-term injury, that opening the door for Woods to return at right-back.

It was Horgan's first league start of the season after a string of appearances off the bench, the Irishman starting on the left-wing in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Johnson played in the advanced midfield role behind Hugill, with Tom Barkhuizen on the right-wing.

Daryl Horgan in action at Barnsley

It was Barkhuizen who had the game's first sight of goal inside 15 seconds, his low shot from the edge of the box saved comfortably by keeper Adam Davies diving to his left.

Hugill glanced a header wide after meeting a Paul Gallagher free-kick but the flag had already gone up for offside.

The early play swung from end to end with neither side taking a grip, although Preston started to look the more likely as the half went on.

They hit the woodwork with 14 minutes on the clock, Gallagher's cross from the left finding Barkhuizen whose header was palmed out by Davies.

The ball rolled into the path of Hugill who saw his low shot slam against the foot of the post.

Barkhuizen got behind Tykes left-back Zeki Fryers but saw a shot charged down by a covering defender, while a good opening fell North End's way in the 33rd minute.

Gallagher's pass played in Johnson down the left hand side of the box but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Ethan Pinnock put in a fine challenge to take the ball off his toes.

At the other end, Barnsley midfielder Gary Gardner saw a first-time shot from the edge of the box fly over the bar without troubling Maxwell.

When DJ picked the pocket of Joe Williams in midfield and played in Horgan, the Irishman saw a shot blocked just inside the box.

Ten minutes into the second half, Hugill tried his luck with a speculative hooked effort from 20 yards which went over the bar.

Just before the hour mark, Neil made his first change with Josh Harrop replacing Gallagher, that switch seeing Johnson drop back to partner Ben Pearson in the centre of midfield with Harrop playing as the No.10.

Harrop's first contribution was to send a shot wide from the edge of the box after North End had broken forward on the counter-attack.

Barnsley shouted loudly for a penalty in the 64th minute when Gardner went down in the box under Woods' challenge as he latched on to a through ball.

But referee Geoff Elthringham waved play on, judging the PNE man had got enough on the ball.

In the 80th minute, Barkhuizen got possession down the left channel, cut inside into the box and saw a low shot pushed round the near post by Davies.

Maxwell was called into action for the first time in the 85th minute, diving to push out substitute Harvey Barnes' shot and then kick the loose ball away from Stevie Mallan.

Despite seven minutes of added-on being played, neither side could fashion a decent effort to force a winner.

Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, Pinnock, Lindsay, Fryers, Gardner, Williams, Mallan, Isgrove (Barnes 74), Hammill, Bradshaw. Subs (not used): McCarthy, MacDonald, McGeehan, Ugbo, Thiam, Townsend.

PNE: Maxwell, Woods (Browne 78), Huntington, Davies, O'Connor, Pearson, Gallagher (Harrop 59), Barkhuizen, Johnson, Horgan (Mavididi 69), Hugill. Subs (not used): Boyle, Cunningham, Welsh, Rudd.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Attendance: 14,014 (1,938 PNE)