ANALYSIS: Barnsley 1 Swansea City 1 - Tykes prove a point at Oakwell

“There’s a clear philosophy at the club, it’s got a DNA and that won’t change.”

Alex Mowatt celebrates his goal. Picture by Simon Hulme
Alex Mowatt celebrates his goal. Picture by Simon Hulme

Those were the pre-match words of Barnsley caretaker manager Adam Murray before Swansea City’s visit to Oakwell.

Brave thinking for a team who had failed to chalk up a single Championship win since the opening day of the season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

What the Reds were willing to change though, is the manager, with German boss Daniel Stendel – a popular figure with Barnsley fans after leading them to promotion from League One last season – shown the exit door after a 5-1 defeat at Preston North End stretched their winless run to 10 league games.

In Murray’s first game at the helm, the Tykes earned a deserved point against Swansea at Oakwell.

Captain Alex Mowatt equalising in the 70th minute, three minutes after Andre Ayew had put the visitors in front.

The match started with Stendel’s name being chanted around Oakwell.

But there was nothing negative with the way Barnsley started the game, Cauley Woodrow twice going close in the opening minutes.

First the striker was denied by goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, after a long throw caused the Swans problems, then only an offside flag denied Woodrow after he found the back of the net.

Murray – the former Mansfield Town boss – was left scratching his head at how his team were not in front after an amazing miss.

Woodrow once again was the instigator, forcing Woodman to claw away his long-range shot.

But as the ball rolled into the path of Cameron McGeehan, and a goal seemed a formality, the midfielder hoofed the ball high and deep into the stand.

It was the sort of finishing which cost Stendel his job, Barnsley having started the afternoon looking for their first win since the opening day of the season.

Captain Mowatt saw his header clear the crossbar, and Swansea – fourth in the table at the start of play – certainly didn’t look like a team who were unbeaten in their first five away games of the season, conceding just twice in those 450 minutes.

It took until the 20th minute for Red goalkeeper Brad Collins to be called into serious action, diving low to deny Ayew.

But it was Barnsley who looked the more likely to score, Conor Chaplin racing clear – but pulled back by another offside call – while McGeehan dragged a 20-yard effort wide, then headed over the crossbar.

Swansea were the first to threaten in the second half, Collins blocking close-range from Ayew.

But, again, the hosts – with Kenny Dougall bossing midfield - continued to spurn good chances.

McGeehan blazing over from eight yards out after good work from Chaplin.

Neither side could be charged with a negative approach, both looking for an opener and Tykes defender Bambo Diaby did well to sweep up the danger as Swans striker Sam Surridge attempted to break clear down the middle.

Collins pulled off two stunning saves to keep the visitors out.

First, Surridge found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper but was denied by the outstretched boot of Collins.

If that was good, what followed was even better. Ayew wriggled clear and his back-post cross picked out the unmarked Bersant Celina, whose header looked a certain goal until Collins popped up with a terrific save.

But the pressure was mounting, and despite a one-handed save from Collins to deny Celina, Ayew poked the rebound over the line on 67 minutes, the goal confirmed by goal-line technology.

Three minutes later and it was 1-1. Chaplin picked out midfielder Mowatt, who stroked the ball into the net.

Barnsley pushed for a winner. Chaplin saw his shot blocked by Woodman at his near post, Mowatt skimmed the top of the crossbar, before the Swans stopper dived full-length to keep out Woodrow’s effort.

But the game ended with the spoils shared, and proof there is nothing wrong with Barnsley’s ‘philosophy’ and ‘DNA’. Just a clinical edge in front of goal, a problem Stendel was all too aware of during his tenure, and a puzzle for his successor to solve.