JOHN­SON’S TYKES NOT DONE YET

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Simon Smed­ley

LEE John­son be­lieves his bat­tling Barns­ley side are still in with an out­side chance of mak­ing the play-offs af­ter they went toe-to-toe with sixth-placed Ch­ester­field.

The Tykes gave as good as they got at a sun-drenched Oak­well, though a draw leaves them still seven points shy of the top six with four games to play.

How­ever, John­son clearly hasn’t given up hope af­ter his team re­sponded pos­i­tively to back-to-back de­feats over Easter.

John­son said: “In the sec­ond half we gave it a right good go and we were prob­a­bly un­for­tu­nate not to have won the game. And that’s against a very good side in Ch­ester­field.

“We pegged them back and all the lads showed great char­ac­ter.

“I’d prob­a­bly still say the chances of mak­ing the play-offs were around five per cent, but we’ve got to re­tain that be­lief.

“It’s been a lit­tle frus­trat­ing be­cause other re­sults around us went for us, but the play­ers showed real com­mit­ment and de­sire. No­body has given up hope yet.

“We can only get bet­ter from here on in, so we’ll have to see what tran­spires.”

The Spire­ites held a sin­gle-goal lead at the break thanks to Jay O’Shea’s smartly-taken strike in the 25th minute.

Af­ter pounc­ing on a stray pass from Tykes mid­fielder Conor Houri­hane, Jimmy Ryan stead­ied be­fore feed­ing Jay O’Shea, who slot­ted home his ninth goal of the sea­son across keeper Adam Davies and in at the far cor­ner.

Ear­lier Sam Clu­cas had been thwarted by a su­perb point-blank stop from Davies, while Barns­ley were de­nied by the wood­work min­utes af­ter the Spire­ites had bro­ken the dead­lock.

Skip­per Martin Cranie went ag­o­nis­ingly close to a lev­eller when he charged in to meet Ben Pear­son’s cor­ner-kick, only to see his brave header strike the cross­bar.

The Tykes grabbed what turned out to be a de­served lev­eller just af­ter the hour mark.

A cross into the Spire­ites’ box wasn’t suf­fi­ciently cleared, de­fender Peter Ramage knocked the ball back into the dan­ger zone, and there was the un­marked Sam Win­nall who slot­ted home neatly from ten yards to reg­is­ter his 11th goal of an in­jury-in­ter­rupted cam­paign.

Win­nall al­most nicked a win­ner later on when de­nied by keeper Tommy Lee, while at the other end Ryan ought to have at least got his shot on tar­get as he lashed waste­fully over.

Spire­ites boss Paul Cook said: “Like I’ve said a num­ber of times al­ready re­cently, we’ve just got to keep go­ing now.

“We’ve got four games left, but I still think there are plenty of twists and turns to come yet. It’s been that kind of a di­vi­sion all sea­son.

“I’m re­ally pleased we’ve kept our fans in­ter­ested un­til this stage of the sea­son. They’ve been bril­liant.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

EYES ON PRIZE: Jay O’Shea opens the scor­ing for Ch­ester­field

JOY: Sam Win­nall af­ter scor­ing Barns­ley’s equaliser

STAR MAN DE­CLA

N JOHN Barnsle

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