Barnsley 0-0 Preston: Goalless draw at Oakwell
Last Updated: 26/12/17 7:24pm
Barnsley moved three points clear of the Sky Bet Championship's bottom three with a goalless draw against Preston at Oakwell.
The result extended the Tykes' winless run to nine league matches, but moved them a point further away from the drop zone after the four teams below them all lost. Ninth-placed Preston remained outside the top six by four points.
Having collected two points from their last eight league matches, Barnsley started cautiously and the only real chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to the visitors. Jordan Hugill struck the foot of the post after Adam Davies had palmed Tom Barkhuizen's header to the edge of the area.
The first half was a cagey affair, with both teams seemingly happy to sit back and hit on the break. On one such occasion, as the visitors countered quickly, Daniel Johnson was denied a one-on-one opportunity by a sliding Andy Yiadom.
A late Preston corner, curled in from the right by Paul Gallagher, was easily dealt with by the Barnsley defence and the half-time whistle sounded soon after to mark a goalless first period.
Joe Williams went close to opening the scoring for the home side early in the second half, but his left-footed shot on the turn was blocked by Johnson.
Preston midfielder Daryl Horgan, making his first Championship start of the season, then looked to create an opening for the Lilywhites, but he failed to find a white shirt after getting to the byline.
Josh Harrop was straight into the action after replacing Gallagher in the visitors' midfield on the hour mark, breaking quickly from the centre circle but firing just wide of Davies' post.
Barkhuizen, having had a quiet game, then carved out a good chance for himself, weaving into the box and forcing a good save from Davies with a shot to the near post.
Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom brought Harvey Barnes on to replace Lloyd Isgrove with 15 minutes left in the hope of adding fresh energy to the midfield.
The move almost paid off, as the tricky winger cut in from the left to force a good save from Chris Maxwell low to his right. This sparked a brief spell of dominance for the hosts and Stevie Mallan also saw a shot palmed away by Maxwell after driving inside from the right.
Injuries meant there were seven minutes of time added on and a resurgent Barnsley pushed for a late winner, seeing two crosses into the box headed clear before the full-time whistle meant the teams settled for a point apiece.
Jamie Clapham (first-team coach): "It was a classic Boxing Day fixture. It was high energy and a passionate game.
"It was enjoyable to be on the sidelines watching it, but obviously we would have loved more than one point. Preston are a good, solid team and their expectations will be to be in and around the play-offs.
"Their keeper made some good saves today. I think we were on top in the first 15 minutes, then they really came into the game. In the second half I think there was only one team who looked like scoring, but it wasn't to be so we will take this point."
Alex Neil: "We've won a lot of games 1-0 this year because we score that chance when we get it. We didn't score that chance today, but if we were going to win the game it was in the first half.
"It was an old-fashioned game and we had chances in the first half, but in the second half we weren't creative enough in front of goal.
"We know we need to add more goals, I've said this for the past few weeks. If we can add more of a goal threat to our side, we will become better."