Should Barnsley secure their cherished goal of an instant return to the Championship that will certainly be the case and last Friday’s derby draw at Doncaster Rovers could yet prove a pivotal moment in their season.
On a difficult night when the under-strength Reds were without Cameron McGeehan, Kieffer Moore, Jacob Brown and Daniel Pinillos, head coach Daniel Stendel’s side – who also lost midfielder Kenny Dougall to injury early on – dug deep to chisel out a point.
The displays of Adam Davies and Ethan Pinnock took centre stage. However, the contributions of the supporting cast, including teenager Ben Williams switching to midfield after Dougall’s injury and Jordan Williams making his first league start, were not lost upon Stendel.
The German’s pride at his side’s battling qualities in extending their unbeaten league run to 18 matches was also manifest after Friday’s stalemate at the Keepmoat Stadium.
He earmarked special praise for Doncaster-born Alex Mowatt, with the Reds midfielder leading by example against his hometown club in the absence of McGeehan and following Dougall’s early departure.
Stendel said: “I was proud of the performance of my team.
“Okay, we can play better, but we had players injured and two suspended and Kieffer Moore missing and Jordan Williams, Zeki Fryers and Victor Adeboyejo came in after having only played one or two games this year.
“We needed time to come into the game and we had a lot of young players on the pitch.
“He (Mowatt) also took responsibility and I said to him that he had to be brave and ask for the ball in the second half and he did that and worked very hard.”