Barnsley 1 Huddersfield Town 1: Watkins halts Terriers’ charge

Barnsley player Ryan Kent is challenged by Izzy Brown. Picture by Simon Hulme
Barnsley player Ryan Kent is challenged by Izzy Brown. Picture by Simon Hulme
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A SMARTLY-TAKEN leveller 16 minutes from time from Marley Watkins secured a derby point for Barnsley as high-flying Huddersfield Town were denied in their quest to register a seventh successive league win for the first time since November 1982.

Watkins showed clinical instincts to dispatch a superb left-wing cross from ex-Huddersfield winger Adam Hammill - to restore parity after Michael Hefele’s deflected header had put the visitors ahead on 18 minutes.

Michael Hefele celebrates the opening goal. Picture by Simon Hulme

Michael Hefele celebrates the opening goal. Picture by Simon Hulme

Watkins strike - his seventh of the season - set up a rousing finale with the hosts much improved after being thoroughly second best in the first period to dominate Town.

Both sides had chances to win it in a thrilling finale, with a remarkable goalline clearance from Marc Roberts denying Izzy Brown, with more fine defending from the home captain denying the Town player shortly before the end.

Town were the preeminent force in the first half and were rewarded when Hefele rose highest to send a bullet header goalwards following Aaron Mooy’s corner, with his powerful effort taking a significant deflection before flying past Adam Davies.

The impressive Reds keeper also had to be alert just after the half-hour mark to make an excellent double save, first denying Brown following good work by Collin Quaner and then turning away a fierce strike from Aaron Mooy.

Huddersfield posed problems at set-pieces for the Reds in an assertive and strong first half showing, with Danny Ward having little to do at the other end.

Ward was called into action once, grasping an Angus MacDonald header following a booming long throw from Roberts.

There were half-appeals for a home penalty on 14 minutes when Ryan Kent went down under pressure from Chris Schindler, but referee Tim Robinson was unmoved.

Barnsley showed more intent on the restart, with Chris Schindler miscuing a clearance which flew just over his own bar, with the German defender soon exiting the fray after failing to shrug off a knock that he picked up early in the game.

Soon after, Whitehead was cautioned for a strong challenge on Watkins in midfield, with the home fans howling for a red card.

Town regrouped and went close to a second when Schindler’s replacement, Jon Gorenc Stankovic saw his goalbound low shot blocked on the line by Matty James after the ball fell to him following Chris Lowe’s corner.

Barnsley threw Hammill and Tom Bradshaw on shortly after the hour mark as they sought a way back into proceedings, with the visitors holding sway in the opening sixty minutes.

It was Hammill who conjured the leveller with his superb cross dispatched by Watkins and it lit the fuse for an enthralling finale, with referee Robinson starting to lose control.

Magic defending from Roberts somehow denied Brown after he rounded Davies as Town countered before Davies made a fantastic reaction save to block Quaner’s stinging volley.

Hefele then had a header blocked before play switched to the other end with Ward keeping out Bradshaw’s header with the final action seeing Roberts again making a timely block to divert Brown’s goalbound effort.

Barnsley: Davies; Yiadom, Roberts, MacDonald, Jones; Mowatt (Bradshaw 62), Scowen, James, Kent (Hammill 62); Watkins, Armstrong (Williams 90). Substitutes unused: Townsend, Elder, Jackson, Moncur.

Huddersfield Town: Ward; Smith, Hefele, Schindler (Stankovic 51), Lowe; Whitehead (Billing 59), Mooy; Kachunga, Brown, Van La Parra (Lolley 81); Quaner. Substitutes unused: Coddington, Holmes-Dennis, Cranie, Payne.

Attendance: 18,075 (4,619 Huddersfield Town supporters).