Aside from averting a fifth consecutive away defeat, there was little solace for Tony Mowbray to take from another disappointing display. His West Bromwich side looked pedestrian and one-dimensional during the first half and, once they started dominating in the second, their hopes were submerged by misplaced passes and mistimed runs.
Their players showed impressive vision in the final third but there was no sign of any execution in front of goal, particularly from John Hartson. Had West Bromwich been awarded a penalty rather than a free-kick late on, when Jason Koumas was fouled by Neil Austin, there might have been a different outcome.
Mowbray said that the Koumas incident should have resulted in a spot-kick, claiming the referee made the "easier" decision of not giving it. Lowly Barnsley's caretaker manager, Simon Davey, had more right to be disappointed with a point.
"They are the best squad in the division so we had to be at 100 per cent," Davey said. But Barnsley were not. Had they been at 100 per cent, this would not have been a draw.
Slippery and windy conditions troubled both teams early on but Barnsley skidded the ball around better initially and would have opened the scoring if Daniel Nardiello had not lobbed over following Paul Hayes' drag-back. West Bromwich heeded the warning. After seizing on a Hartson header, Nigel Quashie sliced through Barnsley's back four with a slick, first-time diagonal ball towards Jason Koumas, who scored with a fierce drive.
Hoult was at fault for the equaliser. During a scramble in the penalty area, the West Bromwich goalkeeper allowed a loose ball to run into Nardiello's path. The Barnsley striker's shot was kept out by covering defenders on the line but they could not stop Hayes from tucking away the rebound.
Goals: Koumas (30) 0-1; Hayes (35) 1-1.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Colgan; Austin, Hassell, P Reid, Heckingbottom; Hayes, Togwell, Howard, K Reid (Devaney 73); Nardiello, Knight (Richards 75). Substitutes not used: Letheren (gk), McCann, Williams.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Albrechtsen, McShane (Clement 63), Davies, Robinson; Gera (Ellington 67), Greening, Quashie, Koumas; Phillips, Hartson (Carter 76). Substitutes not used: Steele (gk), Hodgkiss.
Referee: T Bates (Staffordshire).
Booked: Barnsley Hayes; West Bromwich McShane, Koumas.
Man of the match: Hassell.
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