Birmingham City 1 Barnsley 1: Encouragement for Wilson as Tykes earn deserved point

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Battling Barnsley might still be seeking their first win since the return of manager Danny Wilson but they fought hard to earn a point at Birmingham.

They had to fight back after Nikola Zigic’s solitary first-half strike set Birmingham on the way to increasing their unbeaten run to 10 games.

But it was another Barnsley hard luck story as they created more goal opportunities only to display their shortcomings in front of goal which keeps them anchored in the bottom three.

Fortunately Jacob Mellis scored direct from a 61st-minute free-kick to give them a deserved point.

Afterwards, Wilson said he was impressed with his team’s never-say-die atttitude.

“Obviously I am encouraged by this performance,” said Wilson.

“We haven’t gained many points away from home and to get a result that not many people expected is a fine performance.

“After going behind to an early goal people might have expected the floodgates to open but we turned it around.

“There was nothing between the two teams but there are plenty of points to play for and if we can repeat the kind of performance we showed against Birmingham we will close the gap between the teams above us.

“We were very positive and in the second half showed great patience and resilience.”

If ever a team required a good start it was Barnsley. They produced some promising football and Mellis had a good opportunity, but his weak effort was easily mopped up by Darren Randolph.

This highlighted Barnsley’s problems which were exacerbated in the 10th minute when Birmingham stormed into the lead.

Callum Reilly, recalled to the side, produced a low cross from near the corner flag and the ball evaded three Barnsley players, including goalkeeper Luke Steele, to enable Zigic to tap home.

Barnsley strived to get back into the game but weak finishing was a problem, demonstrated when Chris O’Grady produced another poor effort.

David Perkins then lashed in a powerful 25-yard drive which Randolph had to save at the second attempt. Barnsley continued to create good openings and should have equalised in the 33rd minute, but Mellis somehow screwed a close range shot wide.

Stephen Dawson should have scored six minutes before the break when he too produced a weak shot on target after yet more good work by Brek Shea.

Barnsley were then thwarted by a goal line clearance by Zigic to prevent Peter Ramage scoring.

The crucial goal came in the 61st minute when Mellis scored direct from a free-kick.

Birmingham City: Randolph, Caddis, Bartley (Mullins 57), Burn, Robinson, Lee, Reilly (Lovenkrands 89), Burke, Shinnie (Elliott 67), Novak, Zigic. Unused substitutes: Doyle, Ferguson, Brown, Gray.

Barnsley: Steele, Cranie, Ramage, Mvoto, Kennedy, O’Brien, Perkins, Shea (Cywka 75), Dawson, Mellis, O’Grady. Unused substitutes: Nyatanga, Scotland, Wiseman, Pedersen, Dibble.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).