Cot­ter­ill sees pos­i­tives in point

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Latham

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

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

PACK MAN: A ju­bi­lant Mar­lon Pack cel­e­brates giv­ing Bris­tol City an early ad­van­tage from the spot



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