MAN OF STEELE SAVES TYKES
N FOREST ........0 BARNSLEY........0
DAVE FLITCROFT hailed his Barnsley side’s battling qualities and insisted after they somehow got a point at Nottingham Forest: “We’re not down yet.”
Goalkeeper Luke Steele made save after save and Forest hit the woodwork four times to ensure Barnsley are only goal difference away from safety going into their final games with Hull and Huddersfield.
“Luke Steele’s a top keeper, but to keep a clean sheet at Forest takes more than a keeper, it’s a real squad effort to get draws at these kind of places,” said Flitcroft. “That group of players have earned it.
“When I realised it was not crossbar challenge I came back down to earth! I expected Forest to play with that fluidity and you have to defend. There are two sides to football and what my boys have done is fantastic.
“There have been freak results week-in week-out. We’re in with a fighting chance despite being everyone’s favourites to go down.
“We’ve not been scared of any team in this league, we have a no-fear approach. I have no fear of taking on Hull or Huddersfield. They have brought more memories. They don’t know when they are beaten. Everyone said Barnsley are going down with a whimper but we’ll keep fighting.”
It was scarcely believable how Forest did not win a game they dominated from start to finish.
Out of form Simon Cox had a shot deflected wide early on before Henri Lansbury headed Radi Majewski’s corner onto the crossbar.
Forest were hindered by a knee injury to right back Sam Hutchinson forcing a defence re-shuffle with Danny Collins coming on and Greg Halford switched to the right.
But the change did not really hinder Billy Davies’ side as Steele then made wonder saves to keep out a Billy Sharp header from Halford’s long throw before denying Adlene Guedioura from long range efforts. Steele was at it again after half-time as he thwarted Lansbury from Andy Reid’s cross.
Reid then drove against the post from outside the area before Sharp did the same after Elliott Ward had headed down Guedioura’s cross.
Barnsley did not have to make Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow work all day and they did well to hold on with the gods smiling on them.
Sharp’s agony continued as he headed against the crossbar in injury time from Reid’s centre from the wide as it just was not Forest’s day.
Forest have now failed to win their last six matches and suddenly find themselves two points outside the play-off zone.
“I can ask no more,” said Davies.“We’ve seen the post, bar, crosses and shots and deserved three points. We should have got three points. We picked up a point. But I said to my players if you do that in the next two matches we win both games. Lady luck was against us.
“We now need two wins and need to carry on as we did. If they do the exact same again they will pick up six points.With 70 points it might just be enough.
“With the dynamics, I’ve asked them to work hard for me.We’re trying to manufacture a bit and put people in wide areas.
“When I arrived, I said that on paper we had a very good squad but the games are won on football pitches.
“But I felt getting to 55 points would have been remarkable.”
LATE SHOW: Billy Sharp rises high but his header came back off the bar
HEADS UP: Danny Collins’ flicked header came close to opening the scoring