Football: Barnsley lose scoring touch

Norwich City 0 Barnsley 0
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AFTER THE excitement of reaching the last eight of the FA Cup at the weekend Barnsley returned to First Division action last night, but were unable to maintain their goalscoring form and had to settle for sharing the spoils with Norwich City.

A point apiece will do little to help either club reach the play-off positions but, unlike their hosts, at least the visitors have the excuse of other targets to aim for. On a cold Norfolk night, though, Barnsley showed little that will worry Spurs or Leeds in the sixth round of the Cup.

"We played some good football but lacked nous in and around the box," John Hendrie, the Yorkshire club's manager, said. "We missed Mike Sheron [the injured former Norwich striker] - someone with a poaching instinct."

There was an early opportunity for Barnsley's understudy centre-forward Mike Turner, who had started the season playing for Bilston Town in the Dr Martens League. He had a shot stopped by Andy Marshall's legs and a second attempt blocked by Craig Fleming.

Then Barnsley's Darren Sheridan took a corner on the right which skidded across the six-yard area and came back into play off the base of the post. Norwich promptly took the ball upfield and Lee Marshall made space for himself outside the box before sending a well-struck drive just too high.

In the last minute of the first half Turner made a determined run to the byline, but his low cross from the right eluded both Bruce Dyer and Sheridan. There was still time for another chance at the other end before the interval, Iwan Roberts climbing high to head a fine Daryl Sutch centre from the right wing inches over the bar.

After the break the Canaries contrived to miss a sitter when, set up by a neat pass from Peter Grant, an unmarked Roberts scooped a shot too high from close range.

Chris Llewellyn was the next to waste a decent chance when, fed by Roberts, he found himself clear in the area but dragged his shot wide. Then Fleming flung himself at a left-wing cross from Erik Fuglestad but his header came back off a post.

There were still 25 minutes to go - but that was the last scoring chance of a disappointing game. The Cup may still bring some glory for Barnsley but, in the League, mid-table obscurity beckons for both sides.

Norwich City (4-4-2): A Marshall; Sutch, Fleming, Jackson, Fuglestad; Forbes, Grant, L Marshall, Llewellyn; Roberts, Bellamy. Substitutes not used: Russell, Wilson, Mackay.

Barnsley (3-4-1-2): T Bullock; De Zeeuw, Appleby, Jones; Eaden, Richardson, Tinkler, Sheridan; Hignett; Dyer, Turner. Substitutes not used: Morgan, M Bullock, Hendrie.

Referee: P Rejer (Woodford Hollow).

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