JABO KEEPS SPIR­ITS HIGH AT BARNS­LEY

Ibehre lev­eller de­nies Pre­ston

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ricky Charlesworth

BARNS­LEY’S spirit is driv­ing their play-off push, ac­cord­ing to manager Lee John­son, af­ter Jabo Ibehre came off the bench and net­ted to earn the Tykes a draw with Pre­ston North End.

The Reds hit back to pick up a point through Ibehre’s late header, can­celling out Joe Gar­ner’s first-half opener for the vis­i­tors.

North End, spurred on by 3,000 trav­el­ling sup­port­ers at Oak­well, re­main sec­ond and three points in front of Swin­don.

As for Barns­ley, this re­sult means it is now eight games with­out de­feat and they sit just a point out­side the top six.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed not get the win but when you’re 1-0 down at half-time against a side like Pre­ston, you’re happy with a point,” said John­son.

“We’ve got to stick in there. Don’t for­get where we’ve come from. There’s go­ing to be a spi­ral ef­fect and there will be plenty of shuf­fling in the pack. The fact is that we’re still in with a shout.

“If we can show spirit like we did to­day then we’ll be okay. It was a good ad­vert for League One foot­ball.

“It was a good lit­tle move down the right for our goal. We had a cou­ple of good chances and got into some good ar­eas.

“In the sec­ond half I thought we were the bet­ter side. We had a lot of ter­ri­tory, a lot of pos­ses­sion and we had them on the ropes. I’m pleased for Jabo be­cause he needs goals, and he’ll be cock-a-hoop with that goal.” The first no­table chance of the game saw Barns­ley’s John O’Sul­li­van hit a dip­ping ef­fort which clipped the out­side of a Pre­ston post.

Joe Gar­ner then looked des­tined to score for the vis­i­tors when he con­nected with Paul Gal­lagher’s cen­tre but Barns­ley keeper Adam Davies pulled off a tremen­dous save.

The ex-Ever­ton stop­per spread his body to do enough to pre­vent Gar­ner from open­ing the scor­ing from only a cou­ple of yards out. Gar­ner then squan­dered an­other golden chance when he was un­marked in­side the box but daw- dled and saw his sub­se­quent ef­fort blocked by a re­treat­ing Barns­ley de­fender.

How­ever, eight min­utes be­fore the break Gar­ner broke the dead­lock when he fi­nally re­dis­cov­ered his preda­tory in­stincts.

Cal­lum Robin­son tricked and teased on the wing, beat his marker and hung a cross in the box which even­tu­ally dropped to Gar­ner who glee­fully smashed home to send the Pre­ston fans into ju­bi­la­tion.

Barns­ley came out fight­ing in the sec­ond half and skip­per Martin Cranie came close, head­ing just over early on as the hosts ramped up the pres­sure.

Debu­tant Cameron Ste­wart, who John­son ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards only joined up with the play­ers two hours be­fore kick-off, then half-volleyed wide from six yards out in what was a gilt-edged chance for the hosts to level the scores.

John­son then brought on Dale Jen- nings and Ibehre and it didn’t take the lat­ter too long to get his name on the score­sheet.

Ma­son Hol­gate whipped in a ball and big front­man Ibehre was in the right place to di­rect a header into the net – with Barns­ley’s first shot on tar­get.

De­spite ef­forts from Pre­ston to try and nab a late win­ner, Barns­ley’s back line stayed de­fi­ant as they held out for a wor­thy point.

North End boss Simon Grayson says he was happy with his side’s dis­play and in­sists the point gained takes them a step closer to a re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.

“We knew we had to battle and scrap to­day,” said Grayson.“But, if we take an­other 27 league points then we are pro­moted.

“We have gained seven points this week by play­ing in very dif­fer­ent ways and if you’d of­fered me two wins and a draw then we’d have taken that.”

GARNER­ING IN­TER­EST: Joe Gar­ner opens the scor­ing for Pre­ston

STAR MAN JOHN O’SULL

IVAN Barnsle

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