Barnsley Barnsley came from behind to stretch their impressive unbeaten run to eight games with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at home to automatic promotion-chasers Preston North End this afternoon.
Joe Garner’s 37th minute goal looked to have proved the difference between the two sides as they Reds faced losing their first match since the 5-1 Valentine’s Day drubbing away to Crawley Town.
But Lee Johnson’s gutsy side equalised through substitute Jabo Ibhere with 11 minutes remaining to make sure of a point.
However, a draw couldn’t prevent the Reds from slipping out of the play-off places and down one place to seventh in League One.
Earlier in-form Garner bagged is 21st goal of the season to give the Lilywhites a welcome half-time lead.
It was also Garner’s sixth goal in four games as Simon Grayson’s side looked to take another big step towards automatic promotion.
Blackburn Rovers winger John O’Sullivan had a free-kick charged down after five minutes, before Sam Winnall came close to tapping in a Cameron Stewart cross three minutes later.
O’Sullivan hit the outside of the right post with a powerful drive, while at the other end in-form keeper Adam Davies made a brilliant point-blank block with his legs to deflect Garner’s goal-bound header over the bar.
Garner had a penalty appeal turned down after his shot was charged down in the box, before skipper Tom Clarke blasted over from a good position when he should have done better.
But some poor defending from young right-back Mason Holgate allowed Callum Robinson to cross and an unmarked Garner fired into the bottom right-hand corner to give the visitors the lead.
Davies saved a Garner header three minutes after the break, with Martin Cranie heading over from a Conor Hourihane cross as the Reds countered.
Debutant Stewart should have scored in the 53rd minute, but he somehow fired over from Declan John’s perfectly-weighted left-wing cross.
Centre-back Paul Huntington had a header goal ruled out for a foul following a goalmouth scramble soon after with the contest hotting-up nicely.
The Reds rallied well and 11 minutes before time they scored a deserved equaliser through replacemnt Ibhere.
The Colchester United loan striker pounced to head home from Holgate’s cross, as the defender made amends for his earlier error.
And it stayed 1-1 despite a frantic finish which included five minutes of injury-time.
Barnsley: Davies, Holgate, Cranie, Nyatanga, John, Waring, Winnall, Hourihane, O’Sullivan, Bailey, Stewart. Subs: Dibble, M’Voto, Ibhere, Smith, Hemmings, Jennings.
Preston North End: Johnstone, Laird, Clarke ©, Wright, Beckford, Gallagher, Garner, Welsh, Huntington, Johnson, Robinson. Subs: Stuckmann, Humprhrey, Kilkenny, Davies, Little, Ebanks-Blake.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).