Barnsley 2 Middlesbrough 2: Spoils shared at Oakwell

Barnsley v Boro
Barnsley v Boro
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A WATCHABLE encounter saw honours shared as Barnsley were pegged back twice by big-spending Boro.

The Reds lead twice, with ex-Reds old boy Ashley Fletcher putting through his own net and Cameron McGeehan nodding in his first goal for the Oakwell outfit in a storming opening, but the Teessiders secured a point, with £15m man Britt Assombalonga firing home his sixth goal of the campaign to restore parity at 2-2, with Martin Braithwaite having fired an earlier leveller for Garry Monk's side.

A rip-roaring opening saw three goals arrive in the opening nine minutes before the game even began to settle down, with Barnsley taking the lead on two occasions.

Just three minutes where on the clock when a vicuously-inswinging corner from the recalled Zeki Fryers found its way into the net via the unwitting Fletcher, only for parity to be restored just four minutes later.

The leveller arrived when Daniel Ayala, handed just his second start of the season, flicked on Cyrus Christie's throw-in and Braithwaite stole in to ram home a clinical low shot.

But an eventful opening soon continued with the Reds retaking the lead when Boro's defence went AWOL following Brad Potts' centre, with McGeehan nipping in to nod the ball home.

Barnsley v Boro

Barnsley v Boro

Boro bossed possession for much of the remainder of the half, while the hosts were happy to employ counter-attack tactics.

But despite gorging on territory, the visitors failed to contrive clear-cut chances - with the best moment seeing a long-range screamer from Grant Leadbitter flash narrowly wide.

The pattern continued for much of the restart and Boro's pressure was eventually rewarded with a smart leveller when a lovely thoroughball from Stewart Downing supplied Assombalonga, who fired home clinically at the near post.

Earlier, Fletcher had spurned a chance to make amends when he saw his close-range shot blocked by Adam Davies.

The Reds had the best chances to win it with Mamadou Thiam firing just wide, while Ashley Barnes struck the post.

The hosts' defensive resolve under spells of pressure was a big tick in the box for the hosts, while Boro showed good character and composure to draw level twice, although their habit of conceding the first goal and going behind continued.

Barnsley: Davies; Pearson, Lindsay, Jackson, Fryers; Williams; Hammill, Potts (Thiam 53), McGeehan (Bird 86), Barnes (Hedges 87); Bradshaw. Substitutes unused: Townsend, Ugbo, Moncur, Yiadom.

Middlesbrough: Randolph; Christie, Ayala, Gibson, Fabio (Friend 74); Leadbitter, Clayton; Fletcher, Braithwaite, Downing (Bamford 83); Assombalonga. Substitutes unused: Dimi, Howson, Fry, Baker, Forshaw.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Attendance: 17,163 (4,853 Middlesbrough supporters).