Newcastle United 2
At Barnsley, where the football, so they say, is like watching Brazil, a draw against Newcastle is like taking all three points. "It feels like a win," said manager Danny Wilson. "It is a fantastic point for us."
Martin Bullock typified the Tykes' tenacity. At 5ft 4in tall he is barely knee-high to Stuart Pearce, yet when he entered the fray, with his team trailing and showing no sign of catching up, he displayed the indomitable spirit that is probably all that will prevent a Barnsley fall.
Buzzing down the right with paternalistic urgings echoing from Oakwell's old-fashioned stand, the tiny substitute first tangled with the great, gangling frame of Italian Under-21 international, Alessandro Pistone, reducing him to a heap of uncontrollable legs. Pearce then ploughed into him with a cruel scythe. The England international did at least help Bullock up - extending an avuncular arm to lift him by the throat.
Finally, deep into injury time when the Barnsley faithful were gleefully settling for a point won, Bullock emerged on the left. His joyful career into the penalty area was ended when Steve Watson planted two hands in the small of his back and pushed him to the floor. As play continued around him, Bullock uncomplainingly got up, knowing there will be other days when the unknown boys of Barnsley will play against the international figures of the likes of Newcastle.
In between, Bullock had slipped the pass that had allowed John Hendrie to barge along the edge of Newcastle's penalty area to equalise with an unstoppable left-foot shot.
"At the start of the season we were in awe of things," said Wilson, "but now we're not giving teams so much respect. We are learning and gaining experience from every game and as a team we are much, much better than we were at the start. We can now go to Spurs on Saturday as confident as we can be."
Newcastle's defence allowed Barnsley's charismatic captain Neil Redfearn far too much space in the ninth minute, and then, although they dominated the game, their midfield passed sideways rather than forwards.
A barge from Faustino Asprilla and a long punt from Watson opened the way for Keith Gillespie to score expertly before and after half-time, but once ahead Newcastle squandered opportunities which allowed Barnsley a glimmer of hope - a glimmer they seized as if it were the shine on the championship trophy itself.
Goals: Redfearn (9) 1-0; Gillespie (44) 1-1: Gillespie (49) 1-2; Hendrie (75) 2-2.
Barnsley (5-3-2): Leese; Eaden, Moses, Krizan, Appleby (Bullock, 65), Barnard; Bosancic (Sheridan, 52), Tinkler, Redfearn; Ward, Liddell (Hendrie, 66). Substitutes not used: Hristov, Watson (gk).
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hislop; Watson, Peacock, Albert, Pearce; Gillespie, Batty, Lee, Pistone; Barnes, Asprilla (Tomasson, 66). Substitutes not used: Ketsbaia, Hamilton, Hughes, Given (gk).
Referee: P Alcock (Surrey).
Bookings: Barnsley: Barnard. Newcastle: Albert, Pistone, Peacock, Batty.
Man of the match: Redfearn.
Attendance: 18,687.Reuse content