THE woodwork came to Barnsley’s rescue on four separate occasions as David Flitcroft’s injury-hit Reds chiselled out what could turn out to be a valuable survival point at the City Ground - despite being second-best for virtually the entirely of the game.
The visitors, without several first-teamers, rode their luck on occasions, most notably in the second half, but Billy Davies’ play-off chasing Forest - try as they might - somehow couldn’t forge a breakthrough, courtesy of a mixture of bad luck, impressive goalkeeping from Luke Steele, and defensive resolution from Barnsley.
Henri Lansbury went closest in a one-sided first period for Forest, with his header clipping the crossbar before Andy Reid and Billy Sharp both bemoaned their luck after seeing well-struck shots hit the post on the restart.
Visiting skipper Steele also made smart saves to deny Adlene Guedioura twice in the first period and Sharp and also Lansbury and ex-Doncaster and Sheffield United marksman Sharp after the interval as the Barnsley goal led a charmed life.
Offensive-wise, it took Barnsley 51 minutes to muster their first effort on goal, a tame shot from Nottingham-born Chris O’Grady which flew over.
But despite little attacking threat, the Reds dug deep all over the pitch to claim a rewarding and vital share of the spoils, with Sharp knocking on wood for the final time in added-on-time with a header that clipped the bar.
Flitcroft said: “When I realised it wasn’t a crossbar challenge and that it was a game of football I have to say that the point might go a long way to securing our safety.
“Luke Steele is a top keeper and did very well today but when you come to a place like Forest and keep a clean sheet it takes more than a keeper.
“It takes a squad and that’s what has happened today - just like it did when we went to Cardiff and Crystal Palace in recent weeks.
“I expected Forest to come at us like a Billy Davies team but you can’t bow down to it. You have to defend and my boys displayed an insatiable appetite to keep a clean sheet.
“They don’t know when they are beaten this team and although a lot of people have predicted that we would go down we will continue to battle for the next two games.
“Despite what anyone might say we have earned that point. We are in there with a chance of saving ourselves, the lads are in their fighting to stay in this league and I am in there fighting to be a Championship manager next season.
“I am sure we can pull it off. There are teams not winning who are looking over their shoulder with two games to play and it is hotting up.”