Barnsley came from behind to claim a point against Championship play-off rivals Reading in a dramatic Good Friday clash at Oakwell.
There was plenty of action besides the goals, from Ovie Ejaria and Alex Mowatt, with Reading missing a sitter while Barnsley were denied victory by the post from Mads Andersen, and by referee Geoff Eltringham ruling out Michal Helik’s effort.
There were also fireworks on the sidelines, and arguments between Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael and the Reading staff formed a central part of post-match discussion.
On the game
It was a match that both teams could easily have won or lost, with the draw keeping Barnsley in fifth place in the table with seven matches remaining of the season.
“We have to be happy,” Ismael said of the point. “I think it was a fight, a tough game. Both teams wanted to win.
“We were surprised about the way to play from Reading; we know Reading as a possession-based team and today was clear to see with the long ball, they didn’t try to have the build-up.
“But I think we controlled it. The conceded goal was a mistake from us, we don’t control the run in behind. In the second half it was much better.
“We wanted to put more bodies between the lines and to try to keep the ball, turn and pay forward. We have to score in some situations.”
On the disallowed goal
The biggest situation was the goal chalked off from Helik, who turned in a Mowatt corner at the near post only for a foul to be awarded in favour of goalkeeper Rafael.
“I saw the situation,” said Ismael. “Yes, a 50/50 situation, it’s a normal duel in the Championship and normally we are given the goal.
“But we don’t want to complain. We fight, we keep Reading behind us, and it’s a slight step but it’s a step forward.
“We were lucky with the big chance for Reading in the second half from the mistake (Lucas Joao missing an open goal after a Callum Styles error), so we will take the point.”
They got away with the mistake when Joao missed and were also let off the hook in the first half by Yakou Meite, but Ismael was far from pleased with the failure to prevent Ejaria’s goal and impressed the importance of cutting out such errors in the final run of matches.
“This is the second mistake in the second game in a row after Sheffield (Wednesday), that’s why we have to be aware,” he said.
“It’s a warning now, because there are less games (remaining) and everything counts. If you want to make the next steps, you have to stay clinical.”
On dugout clashes
There was conflict between the two coaching teams on the sidelines, particularly following the Mowatt penalty that levelled up the match.
Ismael was furious with the conduct of counterpart Veljko Paunovic and his staff, claiming that they had used “unacceptable” language in Serbian.
“I can understand that we are crashing the party for a lot big teams that want to go in the play-offs and it’s a surprise for everyone that we are there,” he said.
“The pressure on Reading, we felt the pressure, but don’t be disrespectful. It was unacceptable what’s going on today on the bench.
“They spoke with us and with the referee in another language, and I understand the language a little bit and I know it was disrespectful.
“I’ve never seen something like that. I understand the emotion but they crossed the line today.
“We are a professional team, we fight for the points and we try to stay fair on the pitch and on the side. Sometimes we have to say our mind, to say no, this is too far, you’ve crossed the line and that is not acceptable.”