Barnsley 0 Bradford City 0: Derby ends in Oakwell stalemate

Bradford City's Steven Davies and Barnsley's Ben Pearson chase the loose ball.
Bradford City's Steven Davies and Barnsley's Ben Pearson chase the loose ball.
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THE honours were shared at Oakwell as Barnsley and Bradford City played out a goalless derby stalemate.

It was City who looked the most likely in an entertaining derby spectacle, with a sustained period of pressure in the second period failing to yield a winner as the visitors attacked the end populated by their noisy contingent of 1,826 fans.

Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

That said, Barnsley went mighty close to a winner deep in stoppage time when Marc Roberts’ header struck the post following Conor Hourihane’s corner.

Phil Parkinson called for his side to display character after a discouraging start to the campaign, heightened by a poor 2-1 home loss to Gillingham on Tuesday when City were booed off the pitch.

Their performance at Oakwell was much-improved, while Barnsley also had their moments particularly in the first half, when they played some attractive pockets of football, although in the second half, they ran out of steam a little.

After his side’s fine 3-2 win at Millwall on Tuesday, Reds chief Lee Johnson, unsurprisingly, kept his changes to a minimum and made just one alteration to his starting line-up.

Reece Wabara was handed a home debut and his first start for the club, with James Bree reverting to the bench, which included new loan signing, Cardiff winger Kadeem Harris, brought in on a 93-day loan from the Bluebirds.

Parkinson rang the changes following his side’s lacklustre and dispiriting second-half performance against Gillingham in midweek, which extended their winless start to the new season to four matches.

West Ham loanee Reece Burke was handed a debut in the heart of defence, becoming Rory McArdle’s fourth central-half partner already this season in the process, with Lee Evans, brought in from Wolves, lining up alongside Gary Liddle in the engine room.

James Meredith, Mark Marshall, Steven Davies and Paul Anderson were also restored to the starting line-up, with Alan Sheehan, Josh Morris and Luke James, with Chris Routis missing out through injury - with Tony McMahon absent through illness.

Both sides could take positives from a watchable first half, which ended goalless, with each having opportunities.

Barnsley, seeking a third successive league win for the first time since March, fielded a 4-1-4-1 system, while City opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Steven Davies playing behind lone targetman James Hanson.

It was the visitors who carved out the first good chance on six minutes with Marshall’s cross half-cleared to Anderson, whose well-struck low volley was turned away by Davies.

Barnsley soon started to piece together some nice passing movements, showing patience in some probing play and they were presented with an excellent chance to go in front on 12 minutes.

Ben Williams made a real mess of handling Marc Roberts’ booming long throw on the right flank, presenting Marley Watkins with a clear sight of goal in the six-yard box, but his effort hit the outside of the post.

At the other end, debutant Evans fired not too far off target after dispossessing Pearson before Hanson won a flick on and Anderson see his shot comfortably held by Davies.

Loanee Dan Crowley, who showed some adept touches, was at the hub of Barnsley’s creative moves, but in terms of chances, it was Bradford who were shading proceedings.

Davies then had to show his mettle in the Reds goal to smartly tip over an improvised overhead kick from McArdle after Hanson headed Anderson’s corner towards goal - with set-pieces yielding some joy for the visitors.

But Barnsley ended the half well with Winnall finding a yard of space on the left before firing in a precision angled shot which was destined for the far corner, only for the slightly unsighted Williams turned away the effort impressively.

A lovely passing movement then ended with Pearson seeing his rasping 25-yarder beaten away by the City custodian.

The Reds pieced together the first half chance of the second period with Josh Scowen firing a shot over after good work by Winnall and Conor Hourihane.

On the hour, a well delivered free-kick from Hourihane evaded several Reds players in the box before Johnson played his first card by bringing on loanee Harris for his debut, with Pearson being the man to make way.

Hanson then flicked a header wide before Bradford were afforded with a great chance to take the lead.

Scowen slipped and allowed Steven Davies a clear run on goal, but his poorly-executed dink over the advancing Adam Davies drifted harmlessly wide.

Referee Eddie Ilderton was unmoved a few minutes later after a half-shout for a penalty after Wabara challenged sub Josh Morris just inside the box, with City looking the most likely to break the deadlock.

The pleasant late summer sunshine weather subsequently gave way to a heavy rain and thunder, while the decibels were raised in the Bradford end as the visiting fans scented a goal as they began to press strongly.

The closest they came was when Hanson’s outstretched leg just failed to connect with Morris’ inviting cross on the left before substitute James latched onto Hanson’s header but his effort was held by Davies.

Right at the death, Barnsley were within inches of a winner with Roberts’ header crashing against the post.

Barnsley: A Davies; Wabara, Roberts, Mawson, Nyatanga; Pearson (Harris 63); Watkins, Scowen, Hourihane, Crowley; Winnall (Wilkinson 76). Substitutes unused: Walton, Rothwell, Bree, Digby, Smith.

Bradford City: Williams; Darby, McArdle, Burke, Meredith; Anderson (Morris 67), Evans, Liddle, Marshall; S Davies (James 73); Hanson. Substitutes unused: Jones, Clarke, Knott, Mottley-Henry, Sheehan.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).

Attendance: 10,342 (1,826 Bradford fans).

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