Analysis of Barnsley's 1-1 draw at relegation-battling Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday. After the hosts took an early lead, Herbie Kane netted a 91st-minute penalty.


IF FOOTBALL matches lasted 85 minutes, Barnsley would have lost both of their games this week and be realistically out of the race for automatic promotion.

They were behind for 162 of the 180 minutes, plus stoppages, but somehow emerged with four points from a possible six.

The Reds never feel they are beaten and, no matter what happens in a game, they keep pushing until the final seconds – often with a dramatic late reward like Herbie Kane’s injury-time penalty in Shropshire.

They need to cut out the twin problems of conceding early goals and then wasting chances, but the character and attitude they are displaying will be vital in the promotion run-in.

After the epic win over Leyton Orient on Saturday, they were favourites to beat the relegation-battling Shrews - and should have done so based on their general play and chances - but a late point is not a disaster, especially if they can make it seven from nine this week at second-bottom Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

The Shrews started the game 19th, just three points above the drop zone, having lost eight of their last 11 games and won two. But they drew at Barnsley’s promotion rivals Derby County on Saturday, while their noisy home crowd seemed totally behind their team and manager Paul Hurst who had taken four points from three games since returning last month as a replacement for the sacked Matt Taylor. They played some good football, missed chances for a second, and look to have enough to stay up.

The Reds remained fourth and, while the gap to the top two lengthened slightly, it did not feel at the time like a fatal blow had been dealt to their automatic promotion challenge.

Although it was frustrating night for Neill Collins – serving a ban in the stands after a third booking of the season on Saturday while Martin Devaney and Jon Stead were in the dugout – the feelgood factor of a late goal and another point to the total seemed to leave him a decent mood post-match.


For much of this game, Barnsley looked to be heading for their second away league defeat of the season.

But the late penalty ensured that they collected their 30th point on the road this campaign, the third best total in the division behind Portsmouth and next week’s visitors Derby who each have 35 but have played two extra games.

All the teams in the top seven divisions of English football have lost at least two away league games this season, except Neill Collins’ Reds. Their only defeat of the season on the road – and the only time they failed to score in 18 away games – was a 3-0 November loss at Derby.

They have not lost in seven away league games since then, which is the same as Valerien Ismael achieved in 2021 – although with more wins at a higher level – and the best such run since Daniel Stendel’s promotion-bound Reds were unbeaten in nine away in 2018/19.

There was a warm response from the away fans at the end of the game, who made a long trip on a midweek night.

Barnsley’s sensational away from has made up for a slightly patchy home record and is a huge reason why they are in contention for promotion.


No team in League One has conceded more goals in the first 15 minutes of games than Barnsley with ten. That is more than they have let in in the remainder of first halves this campaign.

They have gone behind in the first 20 minutes of four of their last six games, usually on the back of a sluggish start during which the opposition could have scored more.

It is an issue the Reds are well aware they need to solve in order to continue their push for the Championship. As brilliant as their comebacks have been, they cannot be expected to happen every week – especially with some tough games against promotion rivals to come.

They were poor again at the start of this game, gifting the impetus to the lowest scorers in the EFL who had lost five of their previous six home matches.

The goal saw Mael de Gevigney’s headed clearance fall to Tom Bayliss who then beat the Frenchman before playing Daniel Udoh in on the left to whip in a low cross which looked to be turned in by Tom Bloxham, although it was initially awarded as a Nicky Cadden own goal. Whoever scored it, it was poor defensive play as Bloxham got in between Josh Earl and Cadden while the Reds were generally slow and flat-footed throughout the move. Jon Russell, the defensive midfielder, was not in position to help de Gevigney after his initial header.


People who support both Barnsley and England will be used to an H Kane taking their penalties.

But, while England legend Harry has a notable few blemishes on generally excellent record from the spot, Herbie Kane has netted all four of his spot-kicks since taking over this season.

An injury-time penalty is a high-pressure situation, and goalkeeper Marko Marosi had had a fine night, but his former Doncaster team-mate Kane smashed the ball emphatically into the top right corner in front of the delighted away end.

Barnsley were only given one penalty throughout last season, which they missed, but this campaign they have been awarded five – the fifth most in the division, as everything just seems to being going their way that little bit more than it did under Michael Duff.

A good example of that is that the same referee, Thomas Parsons, did not give Barnsley a late spot-kick at Bristol Rovers almost a year ago when Devante Cole appeared to be pulled back when set to tap in.

The first penalty this season was also against Shrewsbury, which Kane scored as he did at Reading and at home to Carlisle, while the other was taken by Cole who missed against Fleetwood before netting the rebound.

Kane has eight goals this season, having netted just 12 in his other five campaigns as a senior footballer. He is the Reds’ second top-scorer in the league.

He also has the most assists for Barnsley this season with five so is a vital attacking player who they will be desperately hoping does not pick up a tenth booking of the season before the 38-game cut-off point and therefore miss two matches.

He had a good game, constantly looking to get on the ball and make something happen while he was involved in some of the best moves the Reds produced.

It was a clear penalty as de Gevigney was taken out by Taylor Perry who was brought on after 88 minutes with the home fans singing his name but was booked within seconds then, seconds later, conceded the spot-kick.

It came from a long throw by Barry Cotter, a wise late introduction by Collins despite having to take off Corey O’Keeffe who had had one of his best games for the club.


The match followed a familiar pattern with Barnsley falling behind, reacting well and dominating the ball but being unable to turn pressure into goals.

Marosi had a good night, with one magnificent save from a deflected shot by Cadden who, along with fellow wing-back O’Keeffe, was very good with surging runs down the wings and crosses into the box. Cadden had the most shots with four and played three key passes which lead to a shot, while O’Keeffe gave his former Mansfield team-mate Mal Benning a torrid time.

After trying long balls over the top early on, Barnsley put some good moves together. They often had the ball in promising attacking positions but it was a night when it often didn’t fall quite right for them, just bouncing away from them or, when it did drop nicely, they lacked composure such as when Adam Phillips kicked fresh air in a good shooting position.

Cole’s hold-up play was impressive but he never had a big chance to increase his league-high goals tally.

John McAtee missed a couple of chances and has not scored in nine games since that spectacular lob at Port Vale on Boxing Day made it seven in seven.

His fellow former Shrewsbury player Sam Cosgrove was booed onto the pitch – after scoring twice in 22 games on loan to Town in 2021 – and has one goal in 20 appearances for the Reds, but the majority have been cameos off the bench.

Cosgrove came on for midfielder Russell who started in place of the suspended Luca Connell and had a reasonable game, surging forward more than usual to create chances. The Reds always miss Connell when not available but Russell – although his recent home performances have been poor – has deputised fairly well in Oxford and Shrewsbury.

Barnsley’s defence, after a slow start, was generally solid as was goalkeeper Liam Roberts. Earl continued his impressive start at Barnsley by making the most tackles and interceptions and winning the most headers with ten. De Gevigney made seven clearances and played out from the back well at times, while Jordan Williams had a solid game on the right of the back three.