Owing to police advice, the match was given an early kick-off time of 12.15 but the early proceedings on this weekend's League One fixtures failed to spoil to atmosphere surrounding this local Derby between two struggling sides. For Barnsley had claimed only three points in their previous nine games and the Blades hadn't won a league match since 20 October and since then only managed to accumulate two further draws.
United had taken the lead through Chris Basham's 16th minute header. Tykes stopper Adam Davies was clear Man of the Match for the hosts as he prevented the visitors, on a number of occasions, from extending their lead, and five minutes into the six added as stoppage time Conor Hourihane's strike stole a point for Barnsley. This was after the Reds twice hit the woodwork and George Long was the hero from the penalty spot.
Blades boss Nigel Adkins made five changes at Oakwell, including the return of much loved John Brayford, who was making his first appearance since May. Also included was David Edgar, Paul Coutts and former Barnsley duo Jamal Cambell-Ryce and Matt Done. Meanwhile Baxter was absent through injury, whilst Freeman, Sammon, Adams and Reed were positioned on the bench.
The (almost) 4,000 travelling Blades expected a quick response following Tuesday nights embarrassing defeat to the hands of Shrewsbury Town, and it took less than a minute, 30 seconds to be precise to attack the Barnsley goal in front of their Ponty End as Done's effort was deflected wide after Campbell-Ryce crossed. Moments later Harris whipped in free-kick as United started the game with full intend, Hammond headed the ball onto the far post but Basham, with the goal gaping, was too streched to make any contact as the ball fizzled out for a goal-kick.
On 13 minutes Barnsley carved out their first opportunity of the match but in contrast to chances created by United they went even closer to finding the net, Watkins firstly headed wide before Isgrove scuffed his shot six yards out, Collins had slipped in the box and after Long kept out Winnall, Isgrove failed to finish. That miss would soon be punished as Hammond's long pass was neatly controlled by Sharp but his poke at goal was kept out by Davies. From the resulting corner, delivered by Harris, saw BASHAM get on the end of it and his header spun into the goal.
Having taken the lead the Blades were able to control the game, Done and Campbell-Ryce dropped deeper in their roles with the hosts only chance came from a free-kick right of centre, Hammill played a short ball to White but referee, who was ill positioned, stood directly into White's path and United were able to clear. After intercepting the ball in the middle of the park, Brayford's charged run saw his strike from outside the box but his effort drifted wide.
The second half began quite equal with both sides winning a number of corners. The first chance of the second 45 minutes fell to United, Long's long kick up field caught the home side out and after Sharp beat White to the ball, Wabara sliced the ball over his own goal to prevent Done from scoring. Moment’s later Basham side footed wide after Campbell-Ryce had laid him off.
With the hour mark looming the hosts where given a way back into the game when, under the challenge from Collins, Hammill was decked to the ground for a stonewall penalty. Hourihane took the responsibility of atking the spot kick, driving the ball to his left, Long guessed well, diving to his right to push the ball around the post for a corner.
For the next ten minutes, Davies was in the thick of things, having messed up a clearance which was deflected off Done's backside, the ball fell to Coutts near the halfway line, Davies scampered back to his goal and Coutts long range effort drifted wide but was somehow kept in by Sharp, who forced the keeper into a save. Coutts fired over the top after being laid off by Done.
Woolford replaced Campbell-Ryce who looked to limp off with a hamstring injury as United were forced into their first change of the afternoon. Barnsley went more direct and with ten minutes remaining went mightily close as Winnall's header, from Hammill's cross, looked to beat Long before bouncing back off the far post. Referee Swarbrick limped off injured before Lewin Nyatanga's header, following Hourihane's corner, hit the top of the crossbar.
With six minutes of stoppage time added on Adkins brought on Freeman and McEverley for Done and Edgar respectively. The hosts piled on the pressure and in the fifth minute after the ninety, a hopeful ball into the box was half cleared, lying in wait HOURIHANE fired the ball hard and low through a number of bodies and into the bottom corner.
Before the referee blew up for full-time United had one half chance to win the match but Collins header flew over the bar.
Barnsley: Davies, Wabara, Mawson, Nyatanga, White (Smith 79), Isgrove (Williams 71), Hourihane, Pearson, Hammill, Watkins (Toney 71), Winnall. Unused: Townsend, Roberts, Bree, Jackson.
Sheffield United: Long, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Coutts, Sharp, Done (Freeman 84), Collins, Campbell-Ryce (Woolford 70), Edgar (McEveley 90), Hammond. Unused: Howard, Sammon, Reed, Adams.