Defeat in final friendly
- Town defeated in final friendly at Barnsley
- Nahki Wells nets another pre-season goal
- Barnsley comes from behind at Oakwell
Town’s final dress rehearsal ahead of the 2015/16 Sky Bet Championship campaign ended in defeat at Oakwell this afternoon, with League 1 hosts Barnsley coming from behind to claim the bragging rights on Yorkshire Day.
An organised first-half for the Terriers saw them take the lead through a great goal from Nahki Wells – his fourth of pre-season – but when a big error gave Barnsley a gift of an equaliser, the hosts didn’t look back and eventually netted again early in the second-half through a set-piece.
Town lined up 4-4-2 for the game, with Dempsey starting on the left flank but regularly drifting infield to get involved in play. There was also the welcome sight of Ishmael Miller in attack for what was his first run-out of pre-season after the injury sustained in the warm-up at Guiseley.
Barnsley, playing 3-5-2, had some good young footballers in the middle of the park and enjoyed the first spell of sustained pressure in the game just after the 10th minute mark. However, marshalled audibly by Dean Whitehead in the middle of the park, the Terriers stood firm; the best Barnsley could muster was a curling shot from impressive Arsenal loanee Dan Crowley from outside the box that Alex Smithies gathered in.
Instead, it was Powell’s side that drew first blood with an excellently worked goal in the 20th minute. That man Dempsey was at the heart of it, with a beautiful reverse pass finding Nahki Wells in space in the left edge of the area. The Bermudian still had a lot to do from a narrow angle, but he burst expertly past centre back Marc Roberts before advancing and smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
That goal preceded some good Town possession, but often the Terriers were guilty of trying to rush the final ball when keeping hold of the ball might have been the better option. In their exuberance to capitalise on the first goal, Wells and Dempsey both had ambitious through passes cut out when retaining it would have been preferable.
Despite this, Wells and Miller were working well in tandem, with Nahki often coming short for the ball whilst Ishmael stretched the defence in behind with his pace and power. Miller was caught offside a little too often, but it needed to be taken into account that this was his first run-out in 2015/16.
Unfortunately, as impressive as he had been, Dempsey then committed an error that cost his side the lead. Having received the ball in a tight area from Whitehead on the edge of his own box, he tried to slip a pass back to Smithies and instead played it straight to striker Sam Winnall in space, who side-stepped the goalkeeper and smashed the ball into the net.
The last major chance of the half fell Town’s way from a Butterfield corner, with Joel Lynch flicking a header goalwards that needed to be cleared from under the crossbar by the man at the back post.
Dempsey was subsequently clattered on the edge of the box, giving Town a free-kick 20 yards out. It was the unlikely figure of Lynch who stepped forward, only to hit a thunderous strike straight at the defensive wall.
However, the second-half was below the standard of the first, which was typified by the nature of Barnsley’s second goal. When Butterfield had to turn the ball behind, the space that defender Mason Holgate was afforded to turn the ball into the goal at the near post from the resulting corner was inexcusable.
Barnsley dominated possession for the next five minutes, at which point the Terriers got a foothold in the game once again.
Interrupted by the inevitable swatches of changes in pre-season personnel, clear-cut chances were few and far between for both sides, but the hosts created the best when substitute strikers Conor Wilkinson and Simeon Jackson split open the defence with a one-two before the latter curled against the top of the crossbar; in truth he should have scored.
At the other end, the best Town could muster came through a number of strikes from range from Butterfield, but he either missed the target or struck them straight at goalkeeper Adam Davies.
A seemingly big chance fell to second-half sub Joe Lolley late in the second-half after Butterfield’s deflected free-kick dropped inside the right edge of the area but just as he looked to play the ball home, defender Roberts got across to deflect over.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Jason Davidson (Harry Bunn, 82), Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith (Martin Cranie, 72); Kyle Dempsey (Jonathan Hogg, 46), Jacob Butterfield, Dean Whitehead, Sean Scannell (Joe Lolley, 46); Ishmael Miller (James Vaughan, 61), Nahki Wells (Jordy Hiwula, 72)
Joe Murphy, Murray Wallace, William Boyle
Jacob Butterfield (38); Martin Cranie (74)
Town fans: 647