Martin highlights positives of international break
Posted: Thursday, October 15th 2020
Saturday, October 17th 2020
City maintained their unbeaten start to the Sky Bet Championship season, but deja-vu struck at Oakwell as they were held to a draw when Cauley Woodrow struck a last-gasp equaliser.
His penalty secured the 2-2 draw after City had deservedly battled from behind to go on course for what would have been a fifth consecutive win at the start of the Championship season.
Barnsley scored inside the second minute through centre-back Michal Helik’s header but the hosts would lose control of the game as Dean Holden’s men produced a second-half comeback.
Jack Hunt scored his first goal of the season when he rifled home after a moment of panic for the hosts, while Tyreeq Bakinson fired City ahead six minutes after the break with his first goal for the club.
And they were on course to equal the run of the 1927/28 side only for a clash of heads between Solbauer and Callum O’Dowda resulting in a penalty, which Woodrow converted with the final kick of the game - a similar fate to their meeting here almost a year ago.
Yet City remain unbeaten in the Championship and continue to occupy top spot as Reading also drew with Middlesbrough.
Head Coach Dean Holden was forced to make one change to his starting XI with Max O’Leary named in goal ahead of the injured Dan Bentley. Bentley suffered a neck injury in training and wasn’t risked for the trip, O’Dowda and Tomas Kalas returned to the matchday squad and were among the substitutes.
Barnsley were switched on from the first minute and could have led through Woodrow but for Zak Vyner’s defensive duties. However, the opening goal would come from the resulting corner as Helik got the wrong side of Vyner this time and headed in from close range.
It was the worst start imaginable but there was still plenty of time for City to respond and find a way back into the game. Andreas Weimann placed a header wide, as did Chris Martin after a Hunt strike looped up in the air, but their quality in possession was sometimes lacking and Barnsley’s press was causing problems.
The hosts looked to the backpost with a Conor Chaplin free kick late in the first half and again it found its intended target. This time it was the head of Solbauer but the header was tame and easy for O’Leary, as City went into the break a goal down - albeit with more possession.
But the Robins came back out much brighter with two goals in four minutes to put Barnsley on the ropes.
The home side had been quick off the mark in the first half but now it was City’s turn to do the same with the equaliser two minutes into the second half. Nahki Wells had two shots saved by keeper Jack Walton in quick succession and Jamie Paterson’s follow up was blocked. The ball fell for Martin who rolled it to Hunt and the right-back lashed the ball into the net via a deflection. That would be Martin’s fourth assist of the campaign as he continues to stretch his tally.
And it was 2-0 moments later. Again, Wells caused trouble with a shot from a tight angle which was parried by Walton but the ball fell kindly into the path of Bakinson just outside the area, and his deflected effort wrong footed the goalkeeper.
With the Robins in front, the game looked more comfortable and they frustrated Barnsley with Holden marshalling his men behind the ball as they looked to see out the result.
Luke Thomas sliced horrendously off target in a rare sight on goal before Holden brought on Antoine Semenyo, Kalas – his first involvement since an injury sustained in the win over Northampton Town - and O’Dowda from the bench.
Their energy looked to help City grind out the result, with Zak Vyner denied the third goal by the outstretched Walton.
But the game was not done and in stoppage time, a 50/50 clash in the air between O’Dowda and Solbauer led to a penalty. O’Dowda had looked bright in this, his first action of the season for City, and the decision was somewhat controversial but referee Leigh Doughty pointed to the spot before a length stop in play with Solbauer needing treatment.
Woodrow would equalise from the spot, his penalty coming inside the 12th minute of added time, as he dispatched his penalty into the top left corner to salvage a share of the points.
Photography by JMPUK.