Date: 17th September 2012 at 3:27pm
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Barnsley dropped their first home points of the season as honours were even in this celebration match that certainly lived up to the anticipation. Craig Davies` 14th minute opener was cancelled out by Tom Ince on the half-hour mark in an excellent contest on a day that celebrated 125 years of Barnsley football club.

Jon Stones found a great position down the right flank and delivered a brilliant cross into the box for Dagnall. Dagnall forced the Blackpool goalkeeper into a remarkable save to his left on two minutes and Davies was denied by the flag on the follow-up. It was a great chance for Dagnall to put the reds into the lead against one of the Championship favourites and many fans will think he should have found the back of the net from such close range.

Two minutes later Matt Phillips blasted a shot straight at Alnwick from distance before veteran striker Kevin Phillips squeezed a shot through a body of players only for Alnwick to be in the right place once again. Kevin Phillips was excellent for Blackpool throughout. He looked far from his age and continued to drop off into the space between the defence and the midfield and be allowed time to turn and cause the reds defence problems.

Alnwick’s hands were really tested by a stinging shot from Baptiste but it was the reds who next threatened and managed to find the lead.

Mellis, excellent for Barnsley until he tired late on, bombed forward and sent through an exquisite pass for Davies who struck into the far corner past a helpless Gilks on 14 minutes. The Blackpool keeper should have saved the shot and in all honesty Davies had better options than to shoot. But that’s what you get with Davies. Any sight of goal and he will shoot. At times it can be frustrating for his team mates but he will always be a threat and every team needs to have a player with his instincts in front of goal.

The wind was now in the sails of Barnsley and Dagnall thought he was in just moments later when Mellis dinked forward a lovely ball which Dagnall controlled beautifully only for Eardley to come from nowhere with a fine last-ditch tackle.

Barnsley were now well on top and taking the game to Blackpool. Then out of the blue came a deadley through ball for Ince who made no mistake and slotted past Alnwick.

The end of the first-half petered out slightly and the Blackpool goal had clearly knocked the wind out of Barnsley’s sail after their impressive start to the game.

It took eight minutes until the second half saw its first shot and it was a great effort from Davies on his left foot. He did well to keep a Mellis free-kick alive and cut onto his left boot before curling towards the far stick for Gilks to deny the reds forward.

In an effort to freshen things up and and search for a winner Hill introduced Harewood and Done for Davies and Dagnall who had both run their socks off up top.

Harewood again looked off pace and not interested and Barnsley certainly lacked up front once he came on for the second home game running. I hope I’m wrong about him being interested and he just needs time to get match fit, but it certainly looks that way at the moment.

It was Blackpool who had the chances in the second half as Barnsley never seemed to recover from conceding the equaliser.

Blackpool thought they had found a second but for a great block from Stones followed by a great save by Alnwick to deny Gomes.

Alnwick was fantastic in the second half and was called into action on 87 minutes to deny Ince to keep Barnsley in the game.

Alnwick was again called into action in the last minute to tip over from Sylvestre.

The match came to an end with Barnsley hanging on slightly but a draw was a fair result particularly with how well the reds played in the first 30 minutes of this fantastic encounter.

Still unbeaten at home and playing well to go along with it. Now let’s hope that Hill can sort the away form out and we could surprise the majority who have tipped the reds for relegation.

Player Ratings

Alnwick 8
Pulled off some great saves at times in the second half. Deserves to keep his place in the first team with his performances in the last two games, even with Luke Steele fit again and waiting on the bench.

Stones 8
Another great performance from this young lad. Kept Ince and Phillips at bay as they swapped wings throughout but had no joy against Stones. If he continues like this there will be bidders come January or next summer.

Goldbourne 7
Solid defensively and supports going forward but looks uncomfortable when the easy ball isn’t on down the line. The current formation doesn’t help with having no out and out wingers but he has improved massively since we frist signed him.

Foster 7
Another solid display from Foster. Sponsors man of the match.

Wiseman 7
Looks to have settled in well at centre back. Lacks a bit of height but his extra pace is a good fit at the side of Foster.

Cranie 6
Did a good job for team playing out of position in front of the back four but didn’t look entirely comfortable there.

Dawson 8
None stop energy and covered well out wide to help with the threat of Ince and Phillips.

Cywka 7
Great feet and good when in the game but wasn’t involved enough from a reds point of view.

Mellis 8
Pulled the strings for Barnsley. Everything the reds created came through Mellis.

Dagnall 7
Worked hard for the team again but should have scored.

Davies 7
Always a threat

Done 5
Failed to make an impact on his return and caught offside far too often.

Harewood 2
May sound harsh but I’m struggling to remember anything positive he did or any effort he put in so maybe a 2 rating is actually generous.
Little time to make an impact but did well with what he did.

Manager Rating
Keith Hill 8. Held a very good team and picked the right side to go for the win. Great performances so far at home. The substitutes he made failed make the impact required but they were the right ones to make at the time.

Opponent Rating
Ian Holloway 8. Blackpool are a good team and could have won at the end. They got better as the game went on and substitutions were good.