Barnsley FC v Coventry City - Goalless draw reinforces need for a new striker

IT was a game which confirmed what Barnsley supporters and Gerhard Struber already knew.

Oakwell.

Namely, that they desperately lack an enforcer up front. A presence to exert physicality on opposing back four's who are having it all too easy at the moment and help relight the club's attacking fires and rediscover their mojo.

All told, the strikers who have started in Barnsley's last 11 league matches have netted just once - a worrying return with defenders increasingly looking like they have got the Reds' number.

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Little came off, more especially in a flat, toothless first half.

The intensity was better on the restart, but without the necessary conviction. Barnsley's forwards need help and another option.

If this was be a farewell for Struber - subject of interest from New York Red Bulls - it was a tame one.

His Barnsley side have let to score in the league this season.

The package of first-half highlights was an exceedingly small one.

A neat free-kick routine which ended with Callum Styles shooting straight - and comfortably - at Marko Marosi and a shot which was dragged wide by ex-Sky Blues player Luke Thomas was as good as it got. With a very small 'g'.

Moves forward broke down with annoying regularity. The slickness on show almost arrived exclusively from Coventry, who were more purposeful and comfortable in their own skin going forward and were rarely stressed at the back.

It did not yield a first-half opener. But there was the realisation for ex-Reds boss Mark Robins at the interval that if his side could afford themselves one key moment after the break and take an opportunity, then it would very likely be enough to see them head home to the Midlands with the points.

Comfortably the game's most threatening moment in the first half arrived 16 minutes in when a thumping header from Leo Ostigard - left in splendid isolation following Gustavo Hamer's corner - shuddered the woodwork with Callum O'Hare firing the rebound over.

Struber had to do something at the break and he did as Michal Helik made way with Dominic Frieser entered the fray as the Reds switched to a 4-2-3-1.

It instigated a much-needed reaction with Barnsley belatedly starting to fire a question or two in the direction of the Coventry defence - but being wayward in their execution.

Frieser - who missed a golden chance in the previous home match against Luton in front of the deserted Pontefract Road end - again was left to curse after heading off target following Conor Chaplin's inviting centre. It was the sort of chance that a big centre forward might have have tucked away.

Dancing feet from Alex Mowatt then saw him weave into the box before curling over and soon after, Woodrow blasted high over the top following Chaplin's pass when he should have gone better.

A clever interchange between Chaplin and Woodrow ended in the latter seeing his steered shot deflected into the side-netting as Barnsley at least hinted at a breakthrough - something they did not do in the first period.

Perhaps seeing the signs, Robins pepped up his side by bringing on Tyler Walker and Jordan Shipley shortly after the hour mark.

The 'if only' tale continued for Barnsley with another replacement in Elliot Simoes lacking composure when he fired wide after probing work from Frieser and Mowatt.

The cajolement from Struber continued incessantly, mostly in the direction of Woodrow. But it was another frustrating day.

That was confirmed when the Reds forward shot at Marosi late on. His effort cannot be faulted, but he desperately needs a break. As do Barnsley.

Barnsley: Walton; Sollbauer, Helik (Frieser 45), Andersen; Ludewig, Mowatt, Styles, J Williams; Thomas (Simoes 59); Chaplin (Schmidt 79), Woodrow. Substitutes unused: Collins, Oduor, Adeboyejo, Ritzmaier.

Coventry City: Marosi; Ostigard, McFadzean, Hyam; Dabo, Hamer, Sheaf (Shipley 69), Giles; Allen (Walker 69), O'Hare, Godden. Substitutes unused: Billson, Rose, Pask, Bakayoko, McCallum.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).