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Barnsley get a point - Evening Standard

last updated Sunday 11th February 2001, 10:01 AM
A revitalised Barnsley put the brakes on Fulham's promotion march with a battling display at Oakwell.

Jean Tigana's men huffed and puffed but were unusually out of sorts as for once they met their match against a lively Tykes outfit fully deserving of their point in a goalless draw.

And although Nigel Spackman may still be without a win to his name, he will take heart from a gritty performance which belied Barnsley's lowly league position and suggested they should stave off a relegation dogfight this season.

Kevin Miller produced several fine saves for the hosts, but in truth the Cottagers' attack came up against a South Yorkshire wall that seldom looked like being scaled.

Indeed, Barnsley's possession should perhaps have brought them a goal - something Spackman will be hoping new strikers' coach Ian Rush will help to change.

As early as the third minute the visitors should have taken the lead, but unmarked Louis Saha's downward header from Steve Finnan's centre was comfortably claimed by Miller.

The hosts' attacking options in the opening minutes had been limited but a goalmouth scramble after a 10th-minute corner could have resulted in one of at least four players claiming the opener.

A minute later Fulham's breakaway gave enough space for Luis Boa Morte to embark on a typically pacey run down the right.

His shot was low and hard but Miller managed to deflect the effort onto a post, with the ball careering away to safety.

Barnsley began to take the game to the league leaders and for a time threatened with a series of slick attacking moves normally associated with their opponents this season.

Fulham did look the more potent in front of goal, though, with the classy Boa Morte unnerving the home fans when in possession.

Barnsley had won their previous five meetings with Fulham at Oakwell and, although Tigana's men are a different proposition this season, the Tykes were evidently starting to think they could provide an upset.

Matthew Bullock was the source of most of the hosts' positive moments, with a sequence of lively runs down the right flank.

But although Barnsley were seeing more of the ball, their opponents still managed to create the more clear-cut chances.

On the hour mark Sean Davis' header should have added to the Cottagers' 68-goal tally this season, although Miller did well to react at point-blank range.

As the game reached its closing stages, Fulham began to dominate with Boa Morte blazing over after Saha's set-up. And after 78 minutes, German Karlheinz Riedle connected powerfully with Bjarne Goldbaek's cross but Miller was again up to the task.

And then in the dying seconds the home side had possibly their best chance to snatch an unlikely three points but Lee Jones' low shot pulled just wide of Maik Taylor's right-hand post.
Source eveningstandard
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