JABO’S JOLT NOT ROCKING ROBINS BOSS FROM TASK
Cotterill sees positives in point
LEE Johnson described Jabo Ibehre as “unplayable” after the seasoned striker scored one goal and made another against League One leaders Bristol City.
And the Barnsley boss was equally complimentary about 19-year-old goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, who marked his debut on loan from Sheffield Wednesday with two brilliant saves in a hectic finale.
Johnson’s men displayed their credentials as play-off contenders with a well-organised display, despite numerous enforced team changes, and the former City player emerged smiling from his return to Ashton Gate.
He said: “When Jabo Ibehre is on his game he is unplayable and I thought that was the case here. He is so strong and good on the ball.
“That was the job I brought him to the club to do. I want us to be bold in trying to clinch a play-off place and we were just that in the second half.
“Young Joe Wildsmith was outstanding too. We threw him into the lions’ den by picking him against the league leaders and he responded magnificently.
“I was disappointed with our firsthalf display. We conceded a penalty through a poor challenge and there wasn’t enough tempo to our play.
“But after a chat at half-time when I told the players to go out and prove they were as good as Bristol City, the
THIS was a good point for both sides in the end as Bristol City got themselves off the hook with a grandstand finish, having been well below the standards set this season.
Credit Barnsley for a committed effort that performance was excellent and we sent out fans home happy.”
The home side looked out of sorts just six days after lifting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley and it took an 84th-minute equaliser from Joe Bryan to stop Barnsley going home with all three points.
The young wing-back netted with a right-footed volley from the edge of the box just moments after Wildsmith had made brilliant saves from Bryan and Derrick Williams.
It had looked like business as usual when Marlon Pack shot City ahead from the penalty spot on 13 minutes almost saw them overcome a poor start to snatch an unlikely victory.
Jean-Yves Mvoto won’t want to see replays of after Barnsley centre-back Jean-Yves Mvoto went to ground rashly to trip Kieran Agard.
But the strong-running Ibehre levelled with a low shot on the turn in a crowded box just before the break and then provided the pass for Josh Scowen to round Frank Fielding and fire Barnsley ahead on 53 minutes.
City boss Steve Cotterill admitted his team were well below their best for much of the game, but still had praise for his players.
“Again they have shown terrific character,” he said. “When you have taken as many points as we have over the reckless challenge on Kieran Agard that gifted City their early penalty.
But after that Lee Johnson’s team played with organisation and discipline to frustrate their hosts.
Ibehre was man-of-the- the course of the season a draw is not a bad result.
“This game was always going to be a test after all the emotion expended at Wembley last weekend and it took us 70 minutes to get over that.
“Scoring early actually worked against us after we started brightly. Our passing was not as quick as usual and after taking the lead we sat back a bit, which is not like us.
“It took a couple of substitutions and a change of shape to get us going at the end. But from then on we had some great chances and should have won the game.” match for his strength on the ball and energetic front-running contribution.
But Barnsley also owed their point to young goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith’s bravery and agility in the closing stages when his team looked like wilting for the first time.
City don’t know when they are beaten this season, though, and almost pulled victory out of the fire with the determination and fitness Steve Cotterill has instilled.
Aden Flint somehow headed over Aaron Wilbraham’s cross from six yards as City piled on late pressure, laying siege to their opponents’ penalty area
But Ibehre was a threat throughout for play-off contenders Barnsley, giving the normally dependable Flint all the trouble he could handle.
Bryan had a shot deflected wide and Wilbraham went close in a first half of few clear chances. But City could not get going fully until their late assault, but still looked nailed on to be in the Championship.
TO THE RESCUE: An off-balance Joe Bryan scores City’s late equaliser
PACK MAN: A jubilant Marlon Pack celebrates giving Bristol City an early advantage from the spot
STAR MAN JABO IBEHRE Barnsle