An exciting tie in front of a bumper crowd at Oakwell ended all square to complete Barnsley’s unbeaten pre-season record and top up their confidence going into the new season.
Manchester City were the visitors and brought with them a side that cost much more than the one that visited Oakwell last time but in recent times, multi-million pound teams have failed to phase the Reds as was the case today.
City started the brightest, and could have had the lead inside four minutes through Shaun Wright-Phillips as he latched on to a Nigel De Jong through ball but he slipped at the crucial moment.
Jamaican trialist O’Neil Thompson was called into action on six minutes to deny Adebayor a shot with an excellent last ditch block after good work from Craig Bellamy.
City were peppering the Reds defence on a regular basis and hit the target on 8 minutes but Luke Steele was equal to Robinho’s effort. It took a little longer than a quarter of an hour for the Reds to test City, with Foster and Butterfield sending Macken through on goal but he ran the ball to wide and couldn’t force a save from Given.
Seconds later however, Macken again was in the thick of it, this time heading wide from a Martin Devaney cross. O’Neil then tried his luck from 25 yards but his effort was only a danger to Man City’s fans, not their goal.
Luke Steele produced a double save midway through the first half as he palmed away a shot from Bellamy from outside the box, into the path of the goal lurking Adebayor, who blasted towards the roof of the net but again was denied by Steele’s acrobatics.
Just before half time, after going close earlier, Jacob Butterfield crashed a shot against the crossbar from the edge of the area and Campbell-Ryce followed up with a curling effort which beat Given but unfortunately also beat the far post.
Half-time: Barnsley 0 Manchester City 0
Adebayor was beaten by Steele again in the opening moments of the first half and Kayode Odejayi failed to get a shot away after racing through on goal. It could have gone either way and the Reds were matching the Premier League side.
Record breaking signing Robinho went closer than ever twice in a minute when he struck the cross bar and the angle of the goal with two strikes but he still couldn’t open the scoring.
Reds fans were shouting for a penalty on 60 minutes as Odejayi was pulled to the ground in City’s six yard box as he jumped to meet a Campbell-Ryce cross but referee Michael Oliver didn’t want to know.
More efforts flew wide and into the keepers’ arms as both sides pressed for an opener in a fast paced game worthy of a cup tie but Oakwell made noise louder than it would for any goal on 71 minutes as Iain Hume ran on to the pitch to replace the impressive Kayode Odejayi. The Canadian international striker was making his return to action at oakwell for the first time since a fractured skull almost killed him as a result of an elbow by ex Barnsley skipper Chris Morgan on the Oakwell pitch in a heated clash against Sheffield United in November 2008.
Fifteen minutes from time Bellamy had another effort at goal but hit the sidenetting from close range with Luke Steele all but beaten. The fans had to wait until 6 minutes from time for the opening goal but it was well worth the wait. A clearance from the Barnsley box bounced straight through the centre circle and the high back line of City, leaving Bogdanovic free to run on goal. He only took one touch however before sending a peach of a shot low into Given’s right hand corner from outside the box sending the Oakwell crowd into raptures. The removal of his shirt would have warranted a booking in a competitive game but this time the Maltese international escaped with a swift telling off from the referee.
Just like a Barnsley bus, another goal came along a few minutes later after a stalemate for the majority of the match. It was Martin Petrov who managed to spoil the party for the Reds on 88 minutes as he tapped in from what looked like an offside position after Ireland’s effort flashed across the face of goal leaving Luke Steele stranded.
Full-time: Barnsley 1 Manchester City 1
Pulled of a superb double save in the first half prompting a handshake from Emmanuel Adebayor and a great save in the second from a Craig Bellamy free-kick. Conceded his first pre-season goal, from Petrov’s 1 yard tap in.
Oakwell’s longest current servant, Bobby was solid at right back as usual and even received a cheer from the Oakwell crowd after rounding Brazilian International Robinho.
A tiring afternoon against the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Micah Richards really tested Kozluk and the Man City goal came through the left flank but he looked good enough for the most part.
Defied rumours of an injury to play a full 90 minutes and let his experience shine through, putting in some good important challenges.
The captain looked assured at the back along side Darren Moore and was lurking in and around the 6 yard box as usual when the Reds forced a corner.
Looking to earn a deal at Oakwell the Jamaican international, standing 6 feet 3 inches tall filled in an unfamiliar midfield role with the absence of Anderson and Colace but coped well and fitted in nicely alongside International team-mate Campbell-Ryce.
Picked up the Man of the Match and struck the bar in the second half with a 20 yard effort. Looks like a young right footed Brian Howard, nonchalantly trotting through the midfield.
A much better performance from Devaney providing some excellent crosses for the strikers from the wings even if he does look to have lost a bit of pace since joining the Reds.
As per usual, JCR ran his tiny socks off looking the part against Premier League defenders and showing electric pace.
Macken’s first appearance for the Reds against City didn’t bring a goal but that was not for the want of trying. He had a couple of efforts in the first half and worked tirelessly all game to hold up the ball for the midfield.
Kayode is looking like a completely different player so far this summer as the final year of his contract at Oakwell begins. His strength and pace caused a world class defence problems for 70 minutes.
Received rapturous applause as he entered the field to replace Kayode Odejayi to make his long awaited Oakwell return. There’s still a long way to go for the striker but it was just good to see him back on the Oakwell pitch after so long.
Played the last 20 minutes alongside Iain Hume and scored the only Barnsley goal with 6 minutes left, latching on to a long clearance and producing a great finish from outside the box, firing low past Shay Given into the far bottom corner of the net.
Continues to impress despite still being just 15 years old. Replaced Martin Devaney on the wing and looked lively showing flashes of pace.
After all the build up this match received, it certainly delivered. Man City’s rolled out a few superstars but the Reds coped with them well and provided end to end entertainment to the very last kick of the ball. If this is the best the Premier League has to offer, we’re doing absolutely fine.