City have to battle for a point at Oakwell
Leicester City earned a point at Barnsley yesterday with a battling second half performance against a Barnsley side who might have won had it not been for an impressive display once again from Kasper Schmeichel
Sven made two changes from the side that beat Southampton two weeks ago with Jermaine Beckford making his debut for the injured David Nugent and the unlucky Andy King making way for Paul Gallagher. City started brightly enough with Beckford looking lively in a 4-5-1 formation but Luke Steele in the Barnsley goal dealt comfortably with anything that they had to offer. It was Barnsley who looked more likely to score as the half went on and John Pantsil was struggling to cope with a constant threat down City’s left flank; first Drinkwater was clean through only to see his lob over Schmeichel land on the roof of the net and then Andy Gray missed a gift when he headed another left wing cross wide. It was Gray who would play a big part in Barnsley’s goal in the 37th minute when he was again on the end of a left wing cross from McNulty only to see his powerful header come back off the bar but this time Jason Butterfield was on hand to nod in the rebound and Barnsley had the lead that their play deserved.
Half time arrived with the large travelling support voicing their frustration at a lethargic and uninspired performance and a there were some boos and a chant of “4-4-2” from a sizable section of the Leicester fans, clearly not getting the tactical selection for this game. That would change almost immediately after the restart. Andy King replaced the injured Gallagher and within 30 seconds he had bagged the equaliser. Beckford did well on the right to beat his man and make room on the byline for a low driven cross that King turned in from close range. It was the perfect start to the second half for City who enjoyed a spell of pressure and King nearly gave City the lead before the hour mark when he was put through on the left but dragged his shot just wide.
It was Barnsley who finished the match the stronger and had several chances to grab all three points but Schmeichel pulled out top draw saves to deny Butterfield and then a stunning double save late on to deny Danny Haynes with a block as he broke and sprinted towards goal and immediately pulled out a one-handed save to deny O’Brien from the follow-up.
City should be grateful for a point from this game because they just about deserved it for their improved second half performance but the fluent football from two weeks ago was not much in evidence at Oakwell and once again they looked lethargic and disjointed at times and had to deal with sustained periods of possession and pressure from the hosts who might have won but for some outstanding saves from the Kasper Schmeichel who was lauded by the travelling fans with a chorus of “Kasper, he’s better than his dad, he’s better than his dad…”. This may be a bit premature but there is no doubt that the young Dane has brought something to the party that has been missing for a while. The rest of the team meanwhile still haven’t found that consistent groove of form that will be required soon if we aren’t slip too far off the pace at this early stage of the season.
Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Foster , Edwards (c) (Wiseman 59), McNulty, O’Brien, Drinkwater, Perkins, Done (Haynes 79), Butterfield, Gray.
Subs not used: Preece, Doyle, Park.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Pantsil, Mills (c), Bamba, Konchesky (Peltier 87), Fernandes, Wellens, Danns, Gallagher (King 46), Beckford (Dyer 90), Vassell.
Subs not used: Weale, Abe.
Attendance: 10,862 (2,163 City)
Referee: David Webb (Durham)