Analysis from Barnsley's 1-1 home draw with Charlton Athletic. Adam Phillips' opener was cancelled out in the second half.


Barnsley have had plenty of reasons to complain about referees in recent seasons but Simon Mather is one official they can have little issue with.

He has been in charge of two of their last three home league games - giving them a first home league penalty in almost 600 days against Shrewsbury then deciding that the ball had not gone out when Herbie Kane tackled Charlton captain George Dobson next to the left corner flag midway through the first half.

Dobson and his team-mates stopped playing but the whistle was not blown and Kane was able to drive towards the box then pick out Adam Phillips to make it 1-0.

Charlton boss Michael Appleton said it was a foot over the line and the decision was ‘inexcusable’ while he and goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer were booked for their reaction to the goal.

It may well have gone out but it was difficult to tell from replays that were not side-on.

Certainly many officials would have given a goal kick so there is a large element of good fortune for the Reds.

In Text Promo Image

But Kane deserves praise for turning what looked like a lost cause - a lofted Phillips pass after Sam Cosgrove won the ball - into a fine assist, his fourth of the season which is the most of any Red.

Kane, on his 99th appearance for the club, did not have a perfect match as he gave the ball away at times and saw a succession of corners cleared, but made a crucial impact with the assist.

Following on from Cosgrove’s winner against Wycombe, Barnsley’s two home goals since October have been scored through sheer determination and opportunism plus some favourable refereeing.


Phillips’ first goal for eight months was a big moment.

He was more like the player from last season when he was lethal from just inside or outside the box.

The midfielder has had a tough season following the red card in the play-off final and suspension which followed and has been in and out of the 11 while adapting to the more possession-based style of Neill Collins after thriving under the more direct Michael Duff.

Many of his shots this season have been shanked well off target but, after showing signs of progress in the second half at Reading a week earlier, he provided a superb finish into the top left corner from just inside the box.

It was his first goal in 25 games since netting at Forest Green in April and he generally played well with some good passing and skill.

A firing Phillips and fit Luca Connell - who also had a good game - will be vital for Barnsley as they look to improve their performances in the second half of the season.


Barnsley were enjoying their best spell of the game around the hour-mark.

Substitute John McAtee was denied one-on-one by the goalkeeper in a vital moment then was inches away from turning in a Corey O’Keeffe cross after a fine move, while Kane badly scuffed a good shooting chance in the box.

But suddenly captain Jordan Williams passed what should have been a simple clearance straight to Tayo Edun whose ball down the left wing was flicked by Chem Campbell which wrong-footed Mark de Gevigney who could not stop Corey Blackett-Taylor powering past him from the left of the box. He also easily cut past Jamie McCart before finishing from close range.

It was not the first time Williams gifted Blackett-Taylor a chance and the skipper is struggling for consistency in the right centre-back spot. Collins must be at least tempted to put the much bigger Kacper Lopata in the back three when the very direct Stevenage arrive next week.

Overall the Reds defended fairly well, with fit-again goalkeeper Liam Roberts a solid presence at the back after a poor early clearance.

Most of the pre-match focus was on former Barnsley man Slobodan Tedic starting for the visitors along with the division’s top-scorer Alfie May.

But Tedic was booed off by the away end, with some home fans singing his name, while May - who mainly played on the wing - was kept quiet and is yet to win or score in five meetings with the Reds.

Instead it was the other player in Charlton’s front three who caused problems. A powerful and skilled winger, Blackett-Taylor hit the side netting early on after a mix-up between Williams and Mark de Gevigney, then bulldozed into the box before being denied at close range by his former Walsall colleague Roberts.


The Reds almost equalled a post-war record with 37 points after 20 games of a season.

But 35 is a solid total that has them well on course to compete for the top six, which they remain a place and two points from, having lost one in ten league games.

Charlton arrived in tenth but are on good form, unbeaten in six, and seem capable of moving up into promotion contention so a point and decent performance against them constituted a reasonable day for the Reds.

It was the closest Barnsley had come this season to beating anyone in the top ten and hopefully a sign that they are capable of doing that in the future as well as improving their stuttering home form.

They certainly haven’t played as well as this talented group should have across 20 games but their healthy points total, and players returning to form and fitness, suggests they have the platform to launch another promotion challenge.


After a poor first ten minutes in which they barely touched the ball and could have gone behind, Barnsley grew into the match.

The first half was even overall but the Reds should have gone 2-0 up before conceding then reacted well to the leveller and finished by far the stronger as they put on an extra striker to try to win.

They were not as ponderous in their build-up as earlier in the season and played some good football through the middle of the pitch and out wide to their dangerous wing-backs.

O’Keeffe was unlucky not to get an assist while Owen Dodgson - in for the injured Nicky Cadden - made the most clearances and had the most shots, the majority of which were blocked, in an all-action display.

Overall it was one of their more consistent and solid displays of the season.

They just missed that bit of ruthlessness and quality against a good defence, which they must find to take the next step into serious promotion contenders.