Barnsley 1 Preston NE 1: Ibehre nets Tykes a point

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.
Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.
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JABO IBEHRE came off the bench to rescue a point for Barnsley in front of Oakwell’s biggest crowd of the season.

The substitute nodded in 11 minutes from time to cancel out a first half opener by Preston North End striker Joe Garner.

It ensured Lee Johnson’s unbeaten start to his reign as Reds manager continued in front of a 12,471 crowd that was swelled by almost 3,000 visitors.

With both teams having topped the League One form table recently, it was no surprise that the early play smacked of confidence on the part of the Reds and North End.

Cameron Stewart, newly arrived on loan from Ipswich Town during the morning, created the game’s first opportunity with a delightful touch and dart down the wing that ended with his cross being put behind by Nathan Clarke.

Moments later, John O’Sullivan went even closer for the hosts with a rasping 25-yard drive that struck the outside of the post.

Preston’s response was swift and just 60 seconds later Joe Garner was only denied the opening goal by a stunning point blank save from Adam Davies.

James Bailey then denied Garner with a brave block in the 20th minute before Clarke shot over after finding a precious yard of space inside the Reds’ penalty area.

The pace inevitably slackened the longer the first half went on and once play had calmed down, North End went ahead.

Neat play out wide on the left saw the ball centred for Garner, who took one touch before firing in from close range.

Barnsley should have equalised early in the second half but Stewart blazed over from six yards with just a defender on the line to beat after being picked out by fellow debutant Declan John.

Martin Cranie also headed just over from a Conor Hourihane free-kick before the equaliser came 11 minutes from time.

Lovely play out on the right flank between O’Sullivan and Mason Holgate led to the full-back crossing for Ibehre to head in.

In a frantic finale, O’Sullivan then picked out Winnall with a delightful pass only for the striker to completely miss his shot at the vital moment before Clarke headed straight at Davies in stoppage time, much to the frustration of the travelling 2,927 fans.