Reading 0 Barnsley 0: Reds confirm play-off credentials with fine draw at Madejski
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom admitted he was happy to return from Reading with a point on Saturday, though there was also a tinge of disappointment that the visitors didn't go on to nick a superb victory.
The Reds maintained their Championship play-off chasing momentum with a hugely creditable goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium, but it could have been an even better result.
Heckingbottom said: “I was really pleased with everything, except the end product, maybe.
“We were good with and without the ball, though that end product was missing at times.
“We created some great opportunities, but the tell-tale stat was that we only had one shot on target.
“We did have the clearer-cut chances, though. Because of the way Reading play we knew we would get those opportunities to break by pinching the ball and going on counter-attacks.
“Everything we planned and worked on happened, so I have to be pleased with that, it’s just that end product is what really matters to get you the goals.”
Marc Roberts headed narrowly wide for the Reds, while Tom Bradshaw volleyed onto the roof of the net minutes after the restart.
Marley Watkins fired a shot against the post for Barnsley, who were then indebted once again to ‘keeper Adam Davies late on as he saved superbly from Yann Kermogant.
Meanwhile, midfielder Josh Scowen turned his ankle early in the second half and had to be replaced.
He is now rated as doubtful for tomorrow night’s trip to Aston Villa.
REDS SHOW RIGHT SPIRIT
Boss Paul Heckingbottom was delighted to see Barnsley’s fighting spirit come to the fore throughout the gutsy goalless draw at Reading.
The Reds held out for a good point on their travels.
Heckingbottom said: “Every player on the pitch knew we would have to defend balls into our box, and then it’s the positions of the defenders in there that really count.
“Robbo and Angus won some great headers, and then the positions of the midfielders means they can pick up the loose balls.
“Whether we play away or at home, and whether we’re playing a team at the top or not, everyone is fighting for things at the moment.
“It’s important that we approach each game with the same approach now.
“If we don’t win, we don’t, but we will always try to.”
IN FRAME FOR PLAY-OFFS
One of the national radio reporters included Barnsley in his group of contenders for a Championship play-off spot on Saturday morning, and later in the day the team on the pitch showed exactly why they should be included in that particular group.
Ok , the Reds are now six points shy of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday following back-to-back goalless draws, but the point they deservedly earned at third-placed Reading showed that Paul Heckingbottom’s men are in with a shout.
The Reds gave as good as they got at the Madejski Stadium - and then some.
They created the clearer-cut chances on the day - and were denied only by the woodwork in the second half - and the back line looks solid and well-organised.
Barnsley are more than capable of maintaining a play-off tilt, though of course the next fortnight will give an ever clearer idea of where the team might end up.
Villa away tomorrow, Brighton at home and then Huddersfield at Oakwell will all severely test the credentials.