Reds and Tykes share the spoils..

Barnsley – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

In many ways a good result, but relegation rivals Plymouth picking up a win and obviously not making up any ground over Barnsley really haven’t improved our lot.  With fewer games remaining, it begins to look like two of the three from ourselves, Norwich and financially troubled Southampton will make up the numbers with Charlton in the drop to League One.

Of course, five remaining games means there is time to drag the likes of Barnsley and Plymouth (and on the very outside even Blackpool and Derby) back into the fight.  It is still uncomfortably and frustratingly close – because a win today would’ve done us the world of good!  Just ask any Plymouth fans you may know!

Anyway, Billy Davies upset the Barnsley manager by suggesting Forest need a nasty streak – and then name-checking Chris Morgan, the thug (well known to us) who hospitalised Iain Hume with a cynical and deliberate-looking elbow to the head.  Davey may have a reason for being sensitive, he lost his job at Preston when Davies took over.  Perhaps Billy should’ve thought about what he said a bit more, but Davey has over-reacted.

The game appears to be broadly reported as positive – Forest were only able to field five of their loanees, so Anderson and McSheffrey had to make way to accommodate Turner and new signing Blackstock, switching our formation to a four-four-two which should hopefully have meant Earnie was left feeling less isolated up front!

Forest were positive, but Barnsley were defending stoutly.  Osbourne looked to have set up Earnie for a chance but for the intervention of  Darren Moore.  Tyson worked industriously down the left and fired in a cross, with nobody on the other end.  So, as we’ve seen a fair bit recently, pressure nullified by good defending – and Barnsley did look capable of hiting on the break.

The best chance of the half for the Reds involved some great interplay, Osbourne found Blackstock who crossed to Tyson, he blasted past Hassell at right back and crossed to Earnshaw who’s flicked effort was only just over.  Another Tyson cross was headed goalward by Blackstock, although the referee already adjudged him to have pushed the defender.

Barnsley finished the half stronger, though – Turner flapped at a corner under pressure (presumably not drawing the same groans his counterpart would’ve done in similar circumstances!), although a quick counter from Forest saw Cohen surge forward and test Muller who saved at the second attempt.

Just at the death Campbell-Ryce created a chance for Macken who struck over under pressure from Cohen.  At the whistle the referee was immediately petitioned by both sets of players for poor decisions.

So the teams returned to the field for the second half, with Forest fans in reasonably positive mood – only to see us concede in less than a minute.  A Wes clearance fell to Campbell-Ryce whose looping header was flighted perfectly to beat Turner and find the top corner of the net.  A real sucker-punch and a characteristic lapse in the extremeties of a half.

Forest almost replied immediately, Cohen did well to beat numerous Barnsley players before finding Blackstock who held the ball up well for Earnie who blasted it against the crossbar, unfortunately he was only able to put the rebound over though.  And then it nearly all went completely pear-shaped, with a bit more clown defending.

Gunter this time gave the ball away, which set Andranik free in the box to fall over Wes Morgan’s oustretched leg.  Campbell-Ryce stepped up to take the spotkick, but Turner was equal to it, diving low to his left to save the shot.  There’s something about loan keepers and penalties this season, isn’t there?

Forest started looking more positive, a speculative punt forward let Earnie in at the back – but his final effort was poor and over, a Cohen delivery almost reached Blackstock but for some stout defending.  Fortuantely the equaliser was to come – Cohen found Osbourne who made the run down the right hand side, playing a low ball to the near post where Earnshaw was on hand to convert.

The home side were not down and out though, Forest still look vulnerable from set pieces and were somewhat lucky and again thankful for the goalkeeping skills of Turner when De Silva’s slightly scuffed effort looked goalbound but was tipped over.  Another Wes error let in Mifsud who got clear but was prevented from scoring by Turner who smothered the ball at the edge of the area.

Forest had a couple more efforts, one from a McCleary cross  which either Earnie or Blackstock could’ve and perhaps should’ve done better with, the second was a solo effort by Nathan Tyson, who did well to fashion a shooting chance from the edge of the box but it was straight at Heinz – and was followed by the number nine going down injured to be replaced by Luke Chambers.

The last chance fell to the home side, Colace had a decent effort which one again Turner was able to thwart.  In isolation a good point and probably a fair result – in the context of current league standings it’s somewhat less than we could have done with, although everything is not yet lost.