Barnsley continued their run of impressive performances as we come towards the end of the 2010/11 Championship season with a respectable draw and Middlesbrough, although it could have been so much better.
The opening twenty minutes saw both teams start well and create a number of opportunities with Barnsley perhaps looking slightly more dangerous. Indeed this assessment was justified after 23 minutes when Marlon Harewood had his header saved but managed get hold of the ball again and force it home. The Reds, playing in their purple and white away colours, took a hold of the game after opening the scoring with some excellent midfield play – Jacob Butterfield in particular showing excellent moving and passing, as well as getting into good positions to attempt a long range shot.
Barnsley managed to maintain their lead going into the second half however Boro stepped up their performance with Luke Steele called into action on a couple of occasions, mainly from long range.
No doubt the turning point of the game came with about 20 minutes to go. Paul McShane over-reacting to Joe Bennett’s challenge and, after the majority of the players had got involved causing even the nearby advertising boards to end up in a bit of a mess, the on-loan Barnsley defender was given a straight red card in what was always likely to be his last game for Barnsley.
After the game, Mark Robins said about the McShane red card: “The referee could have avoided the problem by giving a free-kick either way earlier in the build-up but the incident itself was just routine bodily contact as they battled for the ball. It was 50-50.” Even the opposing manager Tony Mowbray agreed: “The fracas was just exuberance that boiled over”.
The Reds record of conceding goals in the final 15 minutes of a game is the poorest in the division, being down to ten men and losing such an influential defender meant that a Boro equaliser was almost inevitable. Indeed, with around eight minutes of normal time remaining, Australian international Scott McDonald exposed the light Barnsley defence and headed home the equaliser not far from the penalty spot.
Butterfield continued to look dangerous in the closing moments of the game but was unable to put Barnsley back in front in a game which Mark Robins will be disappointed not to have seen out.
Middlesbrough v Barnsley Highlights
Click here to see highlight of the game from the BBC – these are generally available for around a week after a game has been played.
- It’s encouraging that even though the last three games have produced a win, a defeat and a draw – not many would argue that Barnsley’s performance in each game merited a win.
- Jacob Butterfield is continuing to look impressive and certainly warrants a place in the starting eleven. The defensive side to his game could use some work but this should come with experience.
- Despite some good build-up play, the final ball or the finish is all too often a disappointing one when watching Barnsley. On this occasion it meant that the Reds were, once again, unable to build on the ‘dangerous’ 1-0 score line and kill the game.
- It was always unlikely that Paul McShane’s loan would be extended after this game, however the straight red card he received means he will be suspended for most of the remaining games anyway. Not always a favourite at his previous clubs, McShane has proven himself to be a very capable Championship defender for Barnsley.
Middlesbrough: Smith, McManus, McDonald, Thomson (Smallwood 74), Davies, Robson (Kink 74), Halliday (Flood 60), Williams, Taylor, Bennett, McMahon
Unused subs: Coyne, Haas, Grounds, Tavares.
Barnsley: Steele, Shackell, Trippier, McShane (sent off 72), Hill, Doyle, Haynes (O’Brien 73), Mellis (Foster 72), Butterfield, Harewood (Arismendi 90), Gray
Unused subs: Preece, McEveley, Clark, Taylor.
Venue: The Riverside Stadium
Attendance: 16107 (668 away)
- Middlesbrough v Barnsley : Match Preview (barnsleyfc.com)
- Robins blames sending off for Barnsley’s draw at Middlesbrough (tribalfootball.com)
- The future for Harewood and McShane (barnsleyfc.com)