The Iron had to make do with a point, as they drew 0-0 with Barnsley at Oakwell in Graham Alexander’s first match in charge of the club.The visitors created the better openings throughout the 90 minutes, but were frustrated in their attempts to break the deadlock.
New United manager Alexander made one alteration from Saturday’s draw with Chesterfield, as Luke Williams replaced the injured Neal Bishop.
The rest of the eleven was unchanged, with Luke Daniels on goal, a back four which was formed by Jordan Clarke, Murray Wallace, David Mirfin and Conor Townsend and Jim O’Brien filled the midfield void left vacant by Bishop, to partner Stephen Dawson and Jamie Ness. In attack, Williams joined frontmen Tom Hopper and Paddy Madden.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors, and to Williams, seven minutes in. After a smart turn on halfway, Ness picked out Hopper with a fine long range pass, who then turned to ball onto Williams. The Iron man failed to get enough power into his strike though, leading to a comfortable save, low down for Tykes ‘keeper Adam Davies.
United continued to look bright in the opening stages, and O’Brien wasn’t too far away from finding the back of the net either. Williams, who’d gone close previously, lost possession, but the ball then ran for the Coventry loanee, who then fired wide.
O’Brien was on the move again shortly after, getting on the end of a pass from Ness, before cutting the ball back into a dangerous area. However, no Iron attacker could get there in time, leaving Barnsley defender Alfie Mawson to clear.
Territorial advantage was all United’s. O’Brien got himself involved once more, when he dragged an effort wide from just outside the area, following a sustained build up from the visitors.
The home side were under threat from all angles and did well to survive another scare, ten minutes prior to the interval. As Ness whipped in a corner from the left, Wallace got free of his marker and headed towards goal. Unfortunately for the Scot, he directed his header into the ground and over the crossbar, meaning the attempt was of little problem for Davies in the Tykes goal.
There would be no let up in the visitors’ pressure, as Madden sent the ball goalwards with a right footed shot on 45 minutes. The Irishman’s effort looked to be heading for the bottom left corner, but he would be frustrated by some good last ditch defending.
A breakthrough couldn’t be found before half time, and both sides, despite United’s pressure, went in level.
Alexander’s side picked up where they left off after the break and forced the first opening, with just under an hour on the clock. Williams was the first to react as the ball broke loose just inside the Barnsley half, driving at the heart of the Tykes defence, before slipping Hopper in. The Iron striker couldn’t keep his effort on target however, under pressure from Mawson.
The chances kept on presenting themselves for United. Williams soon went close with a free kick from the edge of the box, curling the ball just wide of Davies’ left post.
In spite of all the Iron’s dominance, they nearly went behind 20 minutes from time, as the hosts went close twice in quick succession. Firstly, Conor Hourihane tested Daniels from distance, after a well worked free kick.
Then the Scunthorpe ‘keeper had to be at his absolute best to repel Marc Roberts’ close range header.
Both sides pressed late on. Barnsley midfielder Josh Brownhill went close to winning it late on, but after receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area, he could only pull his right footed strike harmlessly wide of Daniels’ goal.
Brownhill’s strike would prove to be the game’s last attempt, with referee Darren Drysdale blowing for full time moments later. A day of mixed emotions for new Iron boss Alexander, as his side threatened throughout, but just couldn’t force the opening.
Barnsley: Davies, White, Roberts, Mawson, Williams, Scowen, Hammill, Hourihane, Brownhill, Chapman (Tuton 65), Toney.
Substitutes not used: Townsend, Smith, Nyatanga, Khan, McCourt, Harris.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Mirfin, Wallace, Townsend, Dawson, Ness (Laird 86), O’Brien (Adelakun 50), Williams (King 86), Madden, Hopper.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Goode, Sutton, Vose.
Attendance: 10,122 (830 away).
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